The second quarter of 2021 brought the most optimistic signs of recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as most gaming markets reported significant improvement from the prior quarter and over the year.
On a national level, gaming revenues in the second quarter of 2021 totaled $13.6 billion according to the American Gaming Association. This marked a nearly 500 percent increase from last year and exceeded the pre-pandemic second quarter of 2019 by 26.3 percent. Of the 25 states with commercial gaming, 17 set quarterly revenue records in the second quarter of 2021.
The second quarter results were driven by pent-up demand and an increasing number of people who felt more comfortable navigating public environments amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The rise in gaming activity was also helped by federal stimulus payments and other programs that improved the financial situations of many American consumers, which bolstered casino traffic and spending. It is also worth noting that many non-gaming amenities experienced limited capacities in a number of markets. On the public health side of the equation, vaccination rates continued to tick up and most mask mandates were dropped for the duration of the second quarter.