AGA’s Miller Highlights Gaming Industry’s Comeback in Address

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By Bill Ordine

LAS VEGAS — Resilience was the theme of American Gaming Association president Bill Miller’s keynote address Tuesday at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E), to open the second day of the gambling industry’s gathering at the Venetian Expo here.

Like much about the gaming industry and life in general in 2020, G2E had to abandon a large-scale in-person gathering as the COVID-19 pandemic created widespread lockdowns and business closures.

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And nowhere was the pandemic felt so gravely as in Las Vegas and Nevada where unemployment climbed 30%. So, the return of G2E here, where it’s had been held annually, has been particularly significant.

G2E features education seminars for the gaming industry as well as a trade show where products and services are displayed.

“You’ll walk the (trade show) floor, you’ll see the latest products, you’ll close sales,” Miller said.

Still, even 2021 is not a “normal year,” Miller noted. Thousands of international would-be attendees couldn’t be in Las Vegas for G2E because of ongoing travel restrictions.

But “(this G2E show) marks an important milestone and it isn’t a symbolic milestone,” Miller said. “We’re here to do business and that’s what G2E is all about.”

A year ago, even casinos that were open operated under severe restrictions, Miller said. The results were “step declines in every industry category.”

However, the gaming industry’s comeback has been dramatic.


Big Numbers for Commercial Gaming

In the first seven months of 2021, commercial gaming generated $30 billion in revenue, about the same total for all of 2020, Miller noted. And compared to the first seven months of 2019, which was the best year ever for ever for gaming, commercial gaming is way ahead, he said.

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That success has had its impact on the public at-large. For instance, in Maryland, the money from casinos goes to education and the contributions for 2021 are 12% of even pre-pandemic amounts.

Before Miller’s address, the AGA released the results of a survey it took of gaming industry CEOs that illustrated overall optimism among those executives.

The AGA’s new Gaming CEO Outlook said that almost half of AGA-member CEOs expecting improved business conditions into 2022. The positive attitudes were driven by anticipated increases in new hiring (71%), wage growth (63%), and capital investment (39%).

“AGA’s inaugural Gaming CEO Outlook reflects the strength of our recovery and consumer demand for our world-class entertainment offerings,” Miller said in a new release regarding the survey. “The promising outlook is built on our innovation, but like many industries, supply chain and worker shortages continue to slow our full recovery.”

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Bill Ordine
Bill Ordine was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others.
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Bill Ordine was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others.
... Read More