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US – North American CEOs confident about gaming’s prospects

By - 4 October 2022

Gaming CEOs in the US remain positive about the industry’s current business situation and many express confidence about future conditions despite persistent concerns about today’s economic environment, according to the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Gaming Industry Outlook presented in partnership with Fitch Ratings.

Almost all executives surveyed indicated that the present business situation is good (68 per cent) or satisfactory (28 per cent), and most (92 per cent) expect these conditions to continue or improve over the next three to six months. More than one third (38 per cent) indicated they expect future conditions to be better, compared to only eight percent that thought conditions would worsen.

“Our industry remains cautiously optimistic—and has weathered this volatile economy— because of resilient consumer demand,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “Looking ahead, future consumer confidence and spending remain an outstanding question for our continued growth.”

Despite strong annual revenue numbers to date, macroeconomic factors are tempering the future outlook for the gaming industry. While concerns have eased from earlier this year, two-thirds of gaming CEOs named supply chain issues as a factor limiting operations (65 per cent), followed by inflation and interest rate concerns (62 per cent). Half of executives also identified the uncertainty of the economic environment (50 per cent) and shortage of labor (50 per cent) as impediments to business growth.

The Gaming Industry Outlook includes two separate indices: the Current Conditions Index and the Future Conditions Index.

The Current Conditions Index of 99.5 shows real gaming-related economic activity is relatively stable compared to the second quarter of 2022, when the industry set a new quarterly revenue record. Looking backward, the Index indicates that gaming-related economic activity has grown at an annualized pace of approximately 4.9 per cent over the last three quarters, reflecting real underlying growth, controlled for the effects of inflation.

The Future Conditions Index currently stands at 95.3, indicating that real gaming-related economic activity is expected to decrease moderately over the next six months at a 4.7 percent annualized rate. While the growth expectations of the Gaming Executive Panel remain positive, the Future Conditions Index is dampened by the current Oxford Economic outlook, which anticipates a mild recession in the first half of 2023.

Three in four CEOs surveyed (76 per cent) expect the pace of wage and benefit growth to continue to increase over the next three to six months, although there was a slowdown in expectations around the pace of hiring compared to earlier this year.

For gaming operators, future customer activity is a major question mark with expectations evenly split between expansion and contraction. Among gaming suppliers, half expect the sales of both new and replacement units to increase over the next two quarters, while none expected a decrease in sales.

The strong growth over the past two years has positioned the industry well despite future uncertainty. While respondents noted a significant deterioration in the credit environment, nearly half expected balance sheet health to improve over the next six months.

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