Heading to ICE, iGB is preparing you for the biggest trade show of 2024 with this new series covering the latest developments since the 2023 show.
It’s been a big year for the casino and gaming sector, with plenty of talking points heading into ICE 2024. Here we look at some of the biggest US news stories of the year.
Tribal battles over casino and gambling
This year has been a major battle over the sovereignty of tribal nations in the United States (US).
It’s fair to say that tribal nations in the U.S. have so far dodged a bullet when it comes to attacks on their sovereignty. They should therefore feel strengthened by the recent court rulings.
But as state governments seek to take more control of Indian Country and ongoing fears about the courts, concerns about tribal casinos and gambling are not going away.
This certainly means that tribal gaming is in good health. The National Indian Gaming Commission’s annual report shows that revenue increased 4.9% to $40 in 2022. This year-over-year increase of $1.9 billion is the highest ever recorded.
But despite this success, tribal leaders remain nervous as politicians and some commercial gambling interests seek to reduce that share. This can be done either through the courts or the state governments.
Florida Seminole Tribe – a great victory
There was also a big casino and gaming victory in Florida. The Seminole Tribe and the state of Florida have agreed to nationwide mobile sports betting, effectively creating a tribal monopoly.
Florida was certainly one of the standout stories of this year. This came after a lengthy legal battle in which the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately rejected West Flagler’s request to remain in Florida. After the decision, the way was clear for the Seminoles to start.
It is a historic victory that the gaming contract was first approved over two years ago. This came to an abrupt end in December 2021 when the District of Columbia ruled the Seminole Tribe’s compact violate the Indian Gambling Regulation Act (IGRA).
This verdict came later West Flagler and Bonita-Fort Myers filed suit. The lawsuit centered on whether offering online sports betting nationwide through servers on tribal lands constitutes betting on tribal lands.
However, the DC court’s ruling was overturned by the DC District Court of Appeals in June 2023. This gave the Seminoles free rein in Florida.
This led to back and forth between West Flagler and various legal entities. In August, West Flagler requested a rehearing in the lost case against Interior Secretary Debra Haaland.
This was finally resolved when the U.S. Supreme Court denied West Flagler’s request to remain in Florida. This cleared the way for the Seminoles to take off.
Casino and gaming break all records in Las Vegas
“Viva Las Vegas” has never rung truer than this year. Amid much celebration, commercial gambling in the US now remains on track for a record year. In the third quarter of 2023, revenue of $16.17 billion was recorded, much of which came from the casino.
Overall, this means that figures released by the American Gaming Association (AGA) for the three months to September 30 show that gaming revenue in the US increased by 6.1% year-on-year.
This was the eleventh consecutive quarter of year-over-year revenue growth and the best third quarter on record for casino and gaming.
Of particular note is Nevada, where land-based gaming revenue increased 2.9% year-over-year to $3.88 billion.
The increase was driven by a record-breaking recent quarter (Q3) for Strip casinos ($741.2 million). The period also saw the highest baccarat bet in Nevada state history: $458.4 million, a 50.1% increase over the previous year.
Not to be outdone, Atlantic City, New Jersey also recorded gaming revenue of over $2.4 billion in October, its highest revenue to date.
The US casino and gaming industry is expected to continue its upward trend in 2024, and if visits to Las Vegas are anything to go by, we are certainly on an upward trend.
In July, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) released preliminary estimates that the city attracted 3.41 million international visitors in 2022.
This represents a 162% increase over the 1.3 million in 2021 and the 1.14 million in 2020.
Although it is not yet back to pre-COVID levels, we have seen the number of 5.6 million international visitors who were here before the pandemic in 2019 increase back to 60%.
It’s certainly also a significant improvement over 2021, when only 23% of Las Vegas visitors came from abroad.
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