Whether you see it as a hobby, occasional source of entertainment, or potential main source of income, there’s no denying that gambling has become a major part of our culture and that casinos represent a massive industry.
So, what states actually have casinos? Do any states prohibit gambling entirely? Which one has the highest casino revenue? We’ll go over those and many other interesting facts and stats in this article, so read on!
Casino-Friendly US States
The complete list of US states that have casinos is as follows: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
All the states listed allow charitable gambling, and most of them allow pari-mutuel betting and lotteries. However, only about half of the states listed above allow commercial casino gambling (including traditional land-based casinos and riverboat casinos), pari-mutuel racetrack betting, and sports betting. Moreover, about half of them are home to Native American casinos.
At the time of writing, only 15 states allowed online casinos. This is mainly because online gambling still isn’t properly regulated on a federal level. Still, it’s expected that more states will legalize it, ultimately paving the way for efficient federal regulation.
Statistics on Land-Based Casinos in the US
Now that we’ve answered the main question, it’s time we took a look at some interesting facts and statistics related to land-based and online casinos in the US.
1. The United States had 981 casinos as of 2021.
(American Gaming Association)
According to data from 2021 from the American Gaming Association, there is a total of 981 commercial and Native American casinos operating in the US.
Overall, these casinos supported 1.8 million jobs, generated $57.8 billion in gross revenue in 2021, and had an estimated economic impact of $261.4 billion.
2. As of 2021, the US had 466 commercial casinos.
Over the past 16 years, the number of commercial casinos (i.e., non-charitable and not belonging to Native American tribes) in the US has remained fairly stable. The country had 455 casinos in 2005, and there was a sudden increase in the number of casinos in the mid-2010s, with a peak of 524 casino establishments in 2016.
However, the number dropped back down to the 460s in 2017 and has remained stable since. This includes riverboat casinos and racinos.
3. There were 515 tribal casinos in the US as of 2021.
Native American gaming constitutes a big part of the US gambling industry, and tribal casinos actually outnumber regular commercial casinos. These casinos are located in territories with tribal sovereignty, meaning that state governments have limited jurisdiction over gambling establishments operating there, as per the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.
After a slight drop in 2006, the number of tribal casinos has grown steadily over the past decade and a half, reaching a high point of 525 establishments in 2020.
4. The gross gaming revenue in the US was $57.8 billion in 2021.
(American Gaming Association, Statista)
This was a drastic change compared to the previous year, when the commercial segment of this industry saw $27.04 billion in revenue.
Every year, the lion’s share of earnings comes from slots – these casino games made a whopping $32.53 billion in 2021. Table games accounted for $8.78 billion, while sports betting and iGaming made up the smallest percentage of the revenue, at $4.29 billion and $3.71 billion, respectively.
5. Nevada casinos alone earned $8.45 billion in 2021.
Unsurprisingly, Nevada-based casinos made up around 17% of the whole country’s gambling revenue. After all, Nevada was the first US state to legalize gambling in 1931 and has had ample time to build up its industry.
As impressive as it might seem, the state’s casinos are actually earning less now than they did only a few years ago. In fact, 2018 saw the high point in Nevada casino revenue for the previous decade, at $11.6 billion, which was the peak of a decade-spanning steady upward streak.
After this, the revenue dropped to $8.76 billion in 2019 and hit a low point of $6.75 billion in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing and casino games weren’t safe to play. However, as seen from the above numbers, Nevada casinos are now faring much better, and we expect their profits to increase in the coming years.
6. Pennsylvania had the second-highest casino revenue in 2021.
Although they had practically half the revenue of Nevada’s establishments, Pennsylvania and New Jersey casinos got $4.8 billion and $4.7 billion in revenue in 2021, respectively.
Behind them, we have Indiana, New York, Michigan, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Ohio, all of which boasted between $2 billion and $2.7 billion in revenue that same year. In contrast, Montana and Wyoming are at the very bottom, at only $6.41 and $4.01 million, respectively.
7. WinStar World Casino & Resort is the biggest casino in the US, with a floor space of 400,000 square feet.
Though the Las Vegas strip may be home to the most iconic casino establishments in the world, neither of them is home to the largest US casino. That title goes to the WinStar World Casino & Resort, located in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
With a square footage of nearly 400,000, it is not only the largest casino in the US, but also the largest casino in the world. It was founded in 2003 and has been expanded several times since. As far as the establishment’s selection of casino games is concerned, it features over 10,000 slot machines and 155 table games, 55 of which are poker tables.
The two closest contenders for this title are the Mohegan Sun and the Foxwoods Resort Casino. Both casino resorts are located in Connecticut, boasting a square footage of 364,000 and 344,000, respectively.
8. Pennsylvania received $2 billion in tax revenue from commercial casinos in 2021.
Though Nevada may be the dominant state in most respects when it comes to casino gambling, the state that makes the most money from the industry is actually Pennsylvania.
Even though its gross gambling revenue for 2021 was less than half of Nevada’s, Pennsylvania’s tax revenue was twice that of the Silver State – $2 billion compared to $1 billion.
The reason for this drastic contrast comes down to Pennsylvania’s stricter laws and tax rates imposed on gambling, which ensure the state profits well from the industry.
9. 34% of Americans visited casinos in 2022.
(American Gaming Association)
Given the size of the casino industry and the sheer popularity of slot machines, casino resorts, etc., it’s no surprise that a survey by the American Gaming Association showed that 34% of adult Americans had visited casinos in 2022 to date, making for a noticeable increase of 6% compared to the previous year.
Additionally, the research also showed that 42% of Americans had participated in some form of gambling over the past year, and over 60% recognized the importance of the gambling industry as a positive driving force in the economy and a source of high-quality jobs.
10. Gambling is entirely illegal in only two US states.
(The Daily Gazette)
Gambling is legal in 48 out of 50 states in one form or another, as even the states with the strictest regulation might be home to tribal casinos or allow other forms of gambling. However, Utah and Hawaii are the only two states where gambling is banned outright.
While Hawaii might legalize gambling (or some forms of it) in the future, it’s unlikely that we’ll see the same happen in Utah. This is mainly due to religious reasons, as Utah has the highest Mormon population out of any state (a total of 2.1 million people that make up nearly 68% of the state’s population), and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is strongly opposed to any form of gambling.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, the gambling industry in the US is doing quite well in the aftermath of the pandemic, and we’re optimistic that the upward trend will continue in the future.
Judging by data from the past, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a drastic increase in the number of traditional casinos. Still, we also expect to see better online gambling regulation that will lead to more states legalizing online gambling.
This should pave the way for more great online gambling sites that use cryptocurrencies, including casinos that rely on popular altcoins, like Dogecoin.
What state has the biggest casino?
Oklahoma currently houses the biggest casino in the US – the 400,000 square feet big WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville.
Does Texas have any casinos?
Texas has only one casino: the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino. This is a Native American tribal casino, which means it operates under federal rather than local state jurisdiction and is thus exempt from the state’s strict gambling laws.
How many states have Casinos in the US?
At the moment, a total of 44 out of 50 states allow casino gambling in one form or another. Not all have legalized traditional land-based commercial casinos, but they might still have riverboat, racetrack, pari-mutuel, or Native American casinos.
You can find a complete list of states that allow casino gaming in our full article: “What States Have Casinos? Interesting Facts and Statistics for 2022.”