The American Gaming Association’s (AGA) first Gaming CEO Outlook shows that gaming executives and industry leaders are optimistic of a strong recovery in the remainder of 2021 and into 2022, but do have lingering concerns about supply and employment issues.
The Outlook, prepared for the AGA by Oxford Economics, provides a snapshot of the current and future economic health of the industry based on executive sentiment, employment, casino visitation plans, gaming revenue, and other key economic indicators. The results are informed by a survey of AGA member CEOs and executives representing equipment suppliers, casinos operators, and sportsbooks.
Almost half (48 per cent) of AGA-member CEOs expect improved business conditions in 2022. 54.1 per cent of the panel expected continued growth over the next six months, while 9.7 per cent expected a decrease in revenue.
In particular, 71 per cent anticipate increases in new hiring, 63 per cent expect to see wage growth, 39 per cent predict heightened capital investment.
Among gaming operators, half plan to increase hotel and food and beverage amenities and 43 per cent plan to increase capital investments in gaming machines.
Gaming suppliers are also optimistic: over the next six months, 75 per cent expect sales of gaming units for replacement use to increase and 63 per cent expect sales of new units to improve.
“AGA’s inaugural Gaming CEO Outlook reflects the strength of our recovery and consumer demand for our world-class entertainment offerings,” said Bill Miller, AGA president and CEO, in a summary of the Outlook. “The promising outlook is built on our innovation, but like many industries, supply chain and worker shortages continue to slow our full recovery.”
However, while the overall forecast is positive, significant challenges remain.
More than two-thirds (71 per cent) of CEO respondents cited supply chain issues as a factor limiting operations, while 63 per cent expressed concerns about labour shortages impeding short-term growth and nearly half (46 per cent) cited consumer health concerns.
“We are a more resilient industry because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Aristocrat Technologies CEO and AGA Chairman Trevor Croker. “As the gaming industry looks to 2022 and beyond, our impressive recovery will continue to create jobs, support communities, and generate needed taxes.”
Among the Outlook’s other key conclusions was that there has been exceptionally strong growth in gaming revenue, employment, and employee wages and salaries over the past quarter, representing one of the fastest periods of growth in the industry over the past 20 years.
“The industry has never been more united. We’ve never been more determined or, really, better positioned for success,” Miller said in a keynote address before the opening of the trade-floor exhibition at the Global Gaming Expo, as reported by CDC Gaming Reports. “Gaming has never been more popular with the public.”
Miller stressed that revenue is above the record pace of 2019, suppliers’ sales are increasing, and the commitment to promoting responsible gaming and social awareness is strong. However, he noted the industry must live up to the increased responsibilities that come with success and expansion, especially amid the rapid growth of legal sports betting in North America.
“As sports betting grows, so does our responsibility. Scrutiny from state regulators and the media is increasing around advertising saturation and aggressive promotions. And we have to get this right. Because we’ve seen what happens when it goes wrong. Our commitment to responsibility is real. We need to ensure that our actions reflect those commitments.
“But the gaming industry can’t and shouldn’t be doing this alone. Every stakeholder, especially our partners who are new to the gaming business – sports leagues, teams, media companies – need to understand their role and they need to do their part.”