The biggest American gambling sectors by the numbers

The biggest American gambling sectors by the numbers

The American gambling industry has always been in full swing in the regions that it isn’t prohibited, with the state of Nevada as well as the east coast gambling resort of Atlantic City benefiting considerably from having some of the most popular and iconic casinos in the world.

America splits the gambling industry into different sectors, which are not known by many, these being; commercial, tribal, lotteries, legal bookmaking, pari-mutel betting and charitable betting.

Each of these are contribute significantly towards the American gambling industry, however, not all of them are legal in every state, while there is also some crossover. Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of some of the biggest industry sectors.

Commercial Gambling

This essentially refers to physical casinos or gambling establishments such as slot parlours and focuses mainly on the key resorts such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City in the state of New Jersey. According to Statista though, easily the biggest commercial gambling destination in the United States is Las Vegas, with revenues in 2018 on the strip amounting to $6.59 billion, while perhaps surprisingly, this significantly dwarfs second place New Jersey whose amount for that year came to $2.56 billion in total. Interestingly, Chicago came third with a $1.91 billion and Washington D.C rounding off the top four with $1.62 billion.

Tribal Gambling

Marking the 30th anniversary since the US Congress passed a federal law; the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which established parameters to govern tribal gaming on the lands of sovereign tribal nations, 2018 indicated a particularly impressive previous 12 months for this sector. Indeed figures from 2017 highlighted a record a year, with annual revenue totalling $32.40 billion.


While also being recognised as arguably the most accepted form of gambling by the American public and also congress, lotteries have been a considerable source of revenue since 1977 when this first started. Between then and 2017, the sector has seen staggering growth, hitting $26.18 billion in 2016, according to Statista, before dropping marginally a year later. Also boasting some of the biggest lottery jackpots in the world, significantly dwarfing the UK these figures are hardly surprising.

Bookmaking/Sports Betting

This is relatively new in the US, though has the potential to explode in the same vein that the UK sports betting market has. With the activity now available in casinos, as well as at racetracks and even bookmakers, following William Hill’s entry into the US market, there are plenty of ways to bet on sports, while those states where online gambling is legal, offer another alternative. Ultimately, however, following the legalisation of sports betting in certain states, according to CNBC, there was a 3.5 percent increase in casino revenue between 2017 and 2018 to $41.68 billion. While there isn’t a direct correlation between sports betting being legalised and the increase in revenue, it will inevitably have had an effect on realising that percentage growth hike.

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Robert Taylor

Thank you for visiting the website. My name is Robert Taylor B.J - but my friends and family simply call me Rob. As the founder and chief author here at the website, I thought that it would make sense to give you a bit of information about who I am, what I’m passionate about, and ultimately - why I created the platform.