The majority of gaming executives report a positive view of current business conditions, while economic uncertainty is tempering future industry growth expectations, according to the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Gaming Industry Outlook presented in partnership with Fitch Ratings.
Overall, nearly every gaming executive surveyed characterizes the current business situation as good (62%) or satisfactory (35%). However, panel participants report a more cautious outlook moving forward, with only 20 percent expecting future conditions to be better than today and two-thirds (64%) expecting future conditions to be the same.
“Gaming’s record momentum has continued into 2023 and that is clearly reflected by the attitudes of gaming executives around the country,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “While projections of slowing growth across the American economy are muting expectations for gaming in the medium term, our industry is well-positioned to weather any potential headwinds.”
Current Conditions Index
The Current Conditions Index of 106.0 shows strong growth in casino gaming-related economic activity in Q1 2023 relative to Q4 2022, the commercial gaming industry’s highest-grossing quarter to date. Over the last three quarters, industry activity has been expanding at an annualized pace of approximately 8.4 percent, reflecting real underlying growth, controlled for the effects of inflation. Comparatively, the national U.S. economy grew 2.9 percent over the last two quarters of 2022, the most recently available quarterly data.
Future Conditions Index
The Future Conditions Index decelerated to 97.1 in Q1 2023, indicating annualized industry economic activity is expected to decrease moderately over the next six months. This is partially driven by Gaming Executive Panel results—which remain positive but have softened relative to six months ago—as well as the current Oxford Economics forecast which predicts the U.S. economy will experience mild recession in the second half of 2023.
Gaming Executive Panel
Results from the Gaming Executive Panel show more cautious attitudes for growth over the next six months, with a greater share of executives expecting the pace of new employee hiring, revenue growth and customer activity to decrease over the next three to six months than to increase. Competition for current employees also continues to be a challenge, with talent retention cited as another area of concern by the panel.
Operators and suppliers both express outsized optimism across certain segments of their businesses:
More operators expect capital investment (21% net positive) and gaming units in operation (14% net positive) to increase over the next three to six months than decrease.
Gaming equipment manufacturers are particularly positive, with almost all supplier executives expecting sales of gaming units for replacement use to increase (88% net positive) and most expecting units for new or expansion use to increase (63% net positive). No gaming manufacturer expected the pace of sales to decrease.
Concerns around interest rates and inflation (cited by 69% of respondents) and economic uncertainty (38%) remain top concerns for industry executives. Meanwhile, supply chain delays have fallen out of the top five concerns of executives, replaced with geopolitical risk (31%). Concerns around availability of credit have also eased in the past six months, with the share of executives reporting access to credit as tight (20%) equally balanced by the share that view it as easy (20%).
About the Outlook
The AGA Gaming Industry Outlook is presented in partnership with Fitch Ratings and prepared biannually by Oxford Economics. It provides a timely measure of recent industry growth and future expectations. The Q1 2023 survey was conducted between March 29 – April 10, 2023. A total of 26 executives responded, including executives at the major international and domestic gaming companies, tribal gaming operators, single-unit casino operators, major gaming equipment suppliers, and major iGaming and/or sports betting operators.