(NewsNation) — Gambling is getting good again for Americans who apparently have enough cash saved up to take their chances at the tables and slot machines. Some experts even say it could be a good indication the economy may be stronger than we think despite ongoing concerns about inflation.
Nevada has the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 5.3%. Yet, the Nevada Gaming Control Board says the state’s casino industry brought in $1.4 billion in revenue in July — a 7% increase compared to last July.
Gambling in Sin City is so hot right now that it’s on track to mark a third straight year of record revenue, with estimates totaling $14.8 billion.
“Gambling is the very epitome of consumer discretionary spending, and people apparently have money to be spending all throughout Las Vegas,” said Todd Shriber, a West Coast finance reporter for Casino.org.
Investors and economists alike see Nevada’s good fortune as an indicator Americans are not tapped out and the economy may be stronger than indicated.
“I think it can be a national indicator. It’s tough to compare other cities and states that have casinos,” Shriber said.
To the east in Atlantic City, the Jersey Shore town’s nice casinos, coupled with the state three horse tracks that take sports bets and their online partners won more than $500 billion from gamblers in July — a more than 5% increase over the year.
However, the amount of money won from in-person gamblers at the nine casinos declined by 3% compared to last year.
Nationally, the American Gaming Association reported revenue from traditional casino games, sports betting and iGaming surpassed more than $60 billion in 2022.
That’s a 13% increase over 2021 and a nearly 40% jump since 2019.
“Certain casinos that would be considered regional are coming close to beating records that were established in years past. Broadly speaking, what we’re seeing happen in Vegas can matriculate to other parts of the country and be a sense of encouragement for the broader economy,” Shriber said.
In the South and Midwest, industry watchers say the gambling market is still performing marginally, but not as willing to splurge in casinos as we’re seeing in Vegas.
Meanwhile, gambling addiction prevention groups say in the last three years, the amount of people becoming addicted to gambling has jumped significantly — especially with online sports betting becoming more accessible in different parts of the country.