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New Study: Casino Industry is Essential to Small Business Growth

New research reveals casino industry supports 350,000 small business jobs and spurs $52 billion in small business revenues 

AGA launches nationwide Small Business Tour to highlight report

Washington, DC – The casino gaming industry is driving small business growth across the country by supporting 350,000 small business jobs – that’s more than 14 times the number of Air Traffic Controllers in America, twice the number of dentists and larger than the entire freight rail industry – according to new research released today by the American Gaming Association (AGA). On Wednesday, the AGA launched its American Gaming Small Business Jobs Tour in Maryland to highlight the report’s findings.

According to the study, the casino gaming industry generates $52 billion in annual revenues for American small businesses, more than the entire state budget in Maryland.

“Gaming is a small business driver and champion,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of AGA. “This new report makes clear that the industry is a critical force behind good paying American jobs from coast to coast.”

Other key findings from the study include:

  • Casinos are responsible for $52 billion in annual small business revenues across real estate, finance, health care, STEM, manufacturing, information technology and other industries;
  • Casinos support roughly 350,000 small business jobs;
  • Casinos support $13 billion in small business employee wages;
  • More than half of casino industry-supported jobs are at non-gaming businesses such as local restaurants and shops that see an increase in traffic from a casino property

The report, The Gaming Industry’s Impact on Small Business Development in the United States, was commissioned by the AGA and released by Spectrum Gaming Group. It examined nearly a dozen U.S. gaming markets and assessed casino gaming’s direct and indirect impact on local, small businesses. Researchers concluded that gaming’s widespread impact is felt in markets across the country, but has outsized impact in small to mid-sized communities where local businesses work to integrate into gaming operations. For example, in 2015, 19 commercial casinos in Council Bluffs, Iowa purchased $289 million in products, supplies and services from Iowa-based companies.

“Our analysis recognizes and documents that the casino industry has had a powerful impact on small-business development through various means, ranging from its purchases of goods and services to its impact on increasing employment and visitation in multiple markets,” said Michael Pollock, Managing Director of Spectrum Gaming Group.

To highlight such findings, AGA will visit casino markets across the country to showcase local, small businesses that are thriving and growing due to casino gaming. The tour is part of AGA’s Get to Know Gaming (G2KG) campaign, a multiyear, integrated public affairs campaign rooted in authoritative research which touts the value of gaming nationwide. To date, through its Gaming Votes initiative and broader G2KG campaign, AGA has visited Iowa, Ohio, Colorado, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri and Pennsylvania.

To learn more about the G2KG campaign, visit

Methodology: In October 2016, the American Gaming Association (AGA) commissioned Spectrum Gaming Group to conduct an objective analysis of casinos’ impact on small businesses. This booklet is a summary of the report, The Gaming Industry’s Impact on Small Business Development in the United States, that was released in February 2017. That report outlines in detail casinos’ impacts on both a national level as well as in several communities with gaming across the country.

Spectrum employed noted academics and economists from the University of Massachusetts, Lasell University, New York University, Rutgers University and Stockton University. Spectrum also partnered with Regional Economic Models Inc. (REMI) of Amherst, which provides economic modeling software to help develop its quantitative outputs.