Las Vegas is rebounding. Atlantic City struggles. Casino companies have been vying for licenses in Massachusetts. Native American operations are expanding.
There are a lot of moving pieces in the U.S. gambling industries, and it has been hard to know whether the house is winning.
For the first time, the American Gaming Association commissioned an economic impact report on the industry's importance to the U.S. economy. The numbers are big:
—Direct employment of 570,000 people, with total jobs impact of 1.7 million (including nearly 200,000 government jobs);
—Revenues of $81 billion in 2013, including $30 billion from Native American casinos;
—$38 billion in taxes paid;
—$102 billion in direct economic impact, and when you throw in all the spending done by employees in the general economy, the total impact is $240 billion (this does not include spending on casino construction).
"It's actually larger than the airline industry" in terms of total jobs, according to Sara Rayme, senior vice president of public affairs for the American Gaming Association. "As competition has intensified around the country, especially in the northeast corridor, you're really seeing states look at their policies and figure out ways that they can continue to remain competitive."