AGA’s Miller Highlights Gaming Industry’s Comeback in Address
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.
🚨 #RELEASE: Gaming CEOs are bullish on future industry growth, according to AGA’s first-ever Gaming CEO Outlook Report. 📈— American Gaming Association (@AmericanGaming) October 5, 2021
Read why half of AGA-member CEOs expect positive business conditions to continue to improve into 2022. ➡️ https://t.co/TKfkly0Tii pic.twitter.com/027gyvEcjx
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.”
A longtime reporter and editor who began writing on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened, Bill covered the world Series of Poker and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for a decade.