The Associated Press reported that commercial casinos in the US generated nearly $39 billion in business in the first three quarters of 2021, surpassing all 2020 wins and registering an 18 percent increase from the first three quarters of 2019.

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Figures released by the American Gaming Association trade group put the industry on track for its most successful year in history.

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The record win reflects the growing comfort among consumers returning to casinos after an initial decline during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the rising popularity of online and sports betting. The American Gaming Association said US casinos are on track to surpass an annual record of $43.65 billion from 2019, the AP reported.

The third quarter, in which casinos collected approximately $14 billion, was the most successful in the history of the industry. It was the second consecutive quarter to do so, which the association’s president and CEO Bill Miller called “incredible.”

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“Two straight quarters of record gaming revenue is an incredible achievement in any context, let alone after the most challenging year in industry history,” he said in a statement. “Our recovery is not a flash in the pan, but an ongoing result of our leadership in responsible reopening, world-class entertainment offerings and broad adaptability.”

Miller said that despite the impact of that pandemic on the industry, this year’s numbers indicate a strong revival.

“I am confident that the return of meetings, conferences and international travel will further accelerate the recovery of gaming in 2022,” he said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Jan Bokuniewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University in New Jersey, said increased demand among customers weary of the pandemic played a big role in the industry’s resurgence as restrictions were lifted.

“After a year of restrictions and quarantine, people were eager to get out and enjoy personal experiences again,” she said. “The casino industry responded quickly to implement clean and safe protocols providing a welcoming environment for people seeking safe social activities.

“The explosive growth of Internet gaming during the pandemic brought in a new audience of consumers who may be curious about the brick-and-mortar casino and in-person gaming experience,” she said. “Inspired by the casino marketing and loyalty program, they may have decided to try something new.”

David Schwartz, a gambling historian at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, agreed that an eagerness to get out and work among gamblers who were reluctant to visit casinos in Las Vegas or their local areas is a factor driving the higher numbers.

Ten of the 25 states with commercial casinos saw record quarterly revenue, including the four highest-grossing commercial gambling states in 2019: Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

On the Las Vegas Strip, gambling revenue also reached an all-time high of $2.06 billion.

The association said the record was driven, in part, by the steady return of tourism, with 9.2 million people visiting Las Vegas in the third quarter, an increase of nearly 10 percent over the second quarter of the year, and the highest quarterly since then. Epidemic outbreak in early 2020 meeting level.

Slots and table games, traditionally the bread and butter of the casino industry, have been responsible for most of the run of over $12 billion.

Internet gambling revenue hit a record $938.6 million.

However, sports betting revenue saw a quarterly low of $886.5 million in 2021 due to a limited end-of-summer sports calendar.

Combined sports betting and internet gambling revenue was $5.36 billion during the first nine months of the year, up more than 200 percent year over year.