US gambling revenue down for the first time in 20 years
Sep 22, 2009
During the 2009 fiscal year, state revenue from legal (taxed) gambling sources dropped 2.8%. This might not seem like a bit hit, but considering the fact that this is the first actual decline in state gambling revenue for the last two decades, even this small drop is quite significant. The economic recession is very likely to blame; Americans are just not spending as much money on gambling as they usually do.
Lottery income saw the slightest decline of only 2.6%, but out of all the different sources of gambling-related income, state lotteries are definitely the highest. This represents the first annual drop in lottery revenue since 1970.
Casino income saw a much larger drop of 8.5%, while dog and horse racing saw the biggest overall decline in revenues, falling nearly 15% in the last year. Interestingly, half of all US states considered expanding local gambling activities this year, perhaps in hopes that more gambling establishments would encourage more spending.
Online gambling is a potential source of revenue for state governments, and with so many people pushing to make US online gambling fully legal, it could easily fill the gap left by the drop in land-based gambling income. In fact, it is entirely possible that Americans have not been gambling less at all – perhaps they have just been gambling more on the internet.
Online gambling definitely saves money for players. Lower table limits and fewer overall distractions means they often spend less, but they can easily win just as much. Plus, extra expenses like travel, accommodation, food and drinks are all removed from the picture. Economically speaking, since players are going to gamble anyway, they are better off doing it online.
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