You Can Bet Your Bottom Dollar, These 15 States Are Making the Most From Casinos

Casinos are a huge boost to revenue in many states. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

People who love gambling at casinos love it because of the excitement of playing the games and the thrill of the win. States love gambling because it is a massive source of revenue.

Despite the inherent risks, gambling is as popular as ever. In 2015, the American Gaming Association studied the United States’ casino industry and found casino gaming generated $38.54 billion in revenue nationwide. The same study found casino gaming was responsible for $8.85 billion in gaming taxes. That’s some serious coin, and the total revenues jumped a little more than 1% to 38.96 billion in 2016.

Placing a wager is as popular as ever, and it doesn’t require a trip across state lines like it used to. Las Vegas isn’t the only spot to place a bet or two. Here are 15 other states where a night gambling in the casino is a big source of revenue.

15. West Virginia

  • Number of places to wager: 1,652
  • Revenues from gambling, 2016: $654,830,000

With 1,647 legal video gaming outlets, West Virginia is in the top 5 nationally in that area. Additionally, it has one full-time casino plus four casinos located at horse racing tracks. The state saw more than $654 million in wagers in 2016, which is still one of the highest totals in the nation, but wagers were down 4.62% from 2015, according to data from the American Gaming Association.

Next: Amount of wagers keep going up in this state.

14. Colorado

Colorado is making some serious tax dollars on pot and casinos. | welcomia/iStock/Getty Images

  • Number of places to wager: 37
  • Revenues from gambling, 2016: $810,790,000

Colorado boasts a high percentage of pot smokers, and pretty soon it could be in the top 10 for the number of gamblers. Its 35 casinos had more than $810 million in revenues, up from $790 million in 2015, according to the American Gaming Association. (The state also has 2 tribal lands casinos, which do not count toward the revenue). Poker is especially popular in Colorado. The AGA says more than 12% of wagers in 2016 took place at table games, and World Casino Directory notes that Colorado has 118 poker tables where you can place a wager.

Next: A huge jump in wagers puts this state on the list.

13. Maryland

annapolis, maryland

Maryland has the fewest number of legal casinos on the list. | JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

  • Number of places to wager: 6
  • Revenues from gambling, 2016: $1,203,290,000

We’re going to play spoiler and tell you Maryland has the fewest number of legal casinos of any state on this list. Yet aside from Massachusetts, which offered legalized gambling for the first time starting in 2016, no other state enjoyed a larger jump in dollars gambled. The more than $1.2 billion of revenue in 2016 is 9.5% above the total from 2015.

Next: Three casinos hold down the fort here.

12. Michigan

Autumn in Traverse City Michigan

There are only three casinos that factor into the tax revenue out of 28. | garyrennis/iStock/Getty Images

  • Number of places to wager: 28
  • Revenues from gambling, 2016: $1,385,600,000

The three land-based casinos in the Detroit area are raking it in for Michigan. Two in particular,  MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino, are doing well as both saw their revenue jump more than 5% in 2016 from the previous year, but a third casino, Greektown Casino, had a slight dip. Michigan is home to 25 tribal casinos that don’t factor into the overall revenue.

Next: Video gaming taking away from casinos in this state.

11. Illinois

Springfield, Illinois

Illinois has a huge number of gaming machines. | fotoguy22/iStock/Getty Images

  • Number of places to wager: 5,736
  • Revenues from gambling, 2016: $1,413,480,000

The $1.41 billion in revenue Illinois casinos enjoyed in 2016 was actually down from $1.43 billion the year before. The culprit? The 5,726 video gaming machines in Illinois, the most of any state in the country. Table game revenues within casinos rose more than 6%, and the American Gaming Association says that video game outside of casinos increased 21.3% thanks to the 24,841 individual video gaming machines across the state.

Next: Surprisingly, riverboats aren’t too prevalent in this state.

10. Iowa

The state may be known for agriculture, but it has a booming casino business too. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

  • Number of places to wager: 22
  • Revenues from gambling, 2016: $1,446,160,000

For a state that has the Mississippi River to the east and the Missouri River to the west, Iowa has just two riverboat casinos. That hasn’t stopped the gambling revenue from pouring into the tune of $1.44 billion in 2016, which is an increase of 1.53% from the previous year. That’s not factoring in the state’s 3 tribal casinos, which took in a portion of the roughly $31.2 billion wagered in such facilities in 2016.

Next: Off to the races in this state.

9. Ohio

view of Cincinnati downtown

Racetrack casinos are what bring the big bucks in for Ohio. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Number of places to wager: 11
  • Revenues from gambling, 2016: $1,691,440,000

It was a banner year for Ohio in 2016 as overall gambling revenue was up 2.9%. A big player in those numbers are the seven racetrack casinos throughout the state, even though those locations are limited to slot machines and video gambling.

Next: A place at the table helps this state’s revenue.

8. Missouri

St. Louis

Table games are a huge draw in Missouri. | Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

  • Number of places to wager: 13
  • Revenues from gambling, 2016: $1,714,970,000

If you’re in the mood to play some table games at the casino, then Missouri is the place for you. Though the amount wagered on slots in 2016 was stagnant from the previous year, revenues from table gaming went up 6.4%. It was the second straight year of big gains in table gaming, according to the American Gaming Association, which contributed to a 0.77% jump in revenue overall for Missouri.

Next: Soon, you will have more chances to wager in this state.

7. New York

Albany, New York state capital

The state reported the third-highest jump in revenues. | lavendertime/iStock/Getty Images

  • Number of places to wager: 24
  • Revenues from gambling, 2016: $2,017690,000

New York reported the third-highest jump in casino revenues in 2016 as the total went up 3.42% from the previous year. That increase doesn’t include the 15 tribal casinos within the state borders. The state’s two casinos near New York City, Empire City Casino and Resorts World Casino, anchored that growth, according to the American Gaming Association. Revenue could keep increasing in the near future, too, as several casino-resorts are being planned in New York.

Next: One segment up, one down in this next state.

6. Mississippi

Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Revenues near the Gulf of Mexico jumped 4%. | Frank Kovalchek/Wikimedia Commons

  • Number of places to wager: 31
  • Revenues from gambling, 2016: $2,122,250,000

Mississippi saw a 1.2% bump in total casino revenue in 2016, and it owes that increase to one particular part of its gaming industry. Land-based casinos along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico saw their revenues go up 4% while riverboat casinos saw a 2.1% drop. The trend continues as the Gulf Coast is setting the pace in Mississippi so far in 2017.

Next: Small gains could soon get smaller here.

5. Indiana

Indianapolis skyline at sunset

The state has 13 places to wager. | RudyBalasko/iStock/Getty Images

  • Number of places to wager: 13
  • Revenues from gambling, 2016: $2,216,000,000

The total amount of revenue in Indiana was up a fraction of a percent (0.02% to be precise), according to the American Gaming Association. Despite that, the state still had some of the healthiest gambling revenues in the United States. However, Indiana is bracing for a drop in the near future. More gambling options across the border, in Michigan and Ohio in particular, led to a dip in attendance and the amount gambled. The Indiana Gaming Commission reports that revenues for the fiscal year 2017 are down $8.5 million.

Next: This state’s revenue is dropping fast.

4. Louisiana

Dusk falls over Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, 11 July 2006, almost one year after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. For tourists strolling through the French Quarter it's easy to forget that Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans a year ago. The beignets are fresh, trinkets and designer clothes are artfully arranged in shop windows, and hurricanes are spinning in the bars on Bourbon Street. But while the music, food and good times have come back, the crowds have not and the city is struggling to make ends meet while its main industry remains crippled. With more than 10 million visitors a year, tourism was once a 5.5 billion dollar industry in New Orleans, accounting for 40 percent of the city's tax revenues and employing 85,000 people. (Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

There are a variety of different places to gamble. | Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

  • Number of places to wager: 1,822
  • Revenues from gambling, 2016: $2,537,610,000

Gambling revenue in Louisiana fell by 4.19% and more than $100,000,000 in 2016. The state has one land-based casino, 15 riverboats, four racetrack casinos, 1,798 video gambling machines and four tribal casinos (which aren’t included in the revenue numbers). The American Gaming Association reports numbers were down across the state, except for the Baton Rouge area, which reported a modest 0.7% increase in revenue. Changes could be coming in the near future aimed at reversing the recent downward trend.

Next: A longtime gambling leader getting back on track.

3. New Jersey

Atlantic city had been seeing major closures of casinos. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

  • Number of places to wager: 7
  • Revenues from gambling, 2016: $2,602,720,000

A significant uptick in revenue (1.55%, according to the American Gaming Association) was the first time in a decade New Jersey saw the numbers increase. Casinos opening in Pennsylvania and some trouble from Trump-branded casinos triggered the downturn. But one segment is helping New Jersey get back on track. The AGA reports that internet gaming revenues jumped 32.1%, leading to New Jersey’s resurgence.

Next: A state you might not expect.

2. Pennsylvania

Welcome to Pennsylvania road sign

Three Pennsylvania cities are among the top gambling spots in the U.S. | benkrut/iStock/Getty Images

  • Number of places to wager: 12
  • Revenues from gambling, 2016: $3,213,420,000

If you’re saying to yourself, ‘Really? Pennsylvania?’, well, you’re probably not alone. The Keystone State recorded its highest-ever gambling revenues as three parts of the state are all among the 20 highest-grossing gambling areas in the country, according to the American Gaming Association. Philadelphia (No. 7 in the U.S.), the Poconos (No. 10), and Pittsburgh (No. 19) accounted for $2.8 billion of Pennsylvania’s record-setting gambling revenues.

Next: You can probably guess which state is next.

1. Nevada

No surprise that Nevada leads the pack. | Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

  • Number of places to wager: 2,231
  • Revenues from gambling, 2016: $11,257,150,000

Between its 273 commercial casinos, 1,953 gaming machines, and 5 tribal casinos, you’re never far away from a place to wager. The American Gaming Association notes that Nevada saw a 5.4% drop in sports book revenue, but overall the state saw a 1.3% increase. It wouldn’t come as a shock if revenues continue to go up, and a plan to allow e-sports betting should help Nevada continue to rake in the dough for years to come.

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