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Which US states are the most obsessed with gaming?

By Marta Juras

|

Oct 12, 2023

Reading time: 3 min

Gaming is a popular activity across the US. Several factors have led to growth in the industry in recent years, including technological advances, the 5G network expansion, and the global health crisis. An increased fascination with both watching and participating in esports has also played a vital role in more people becoming involved with gaming.

Looking at the Entertainment Software Association Essential Facts about the Video Game Industry report, one can see just how far the US has immersed itself in gaming as a result of these impacts. Around two-thirds of the population, more than 215 million, play games regularly. 

Looking at the finer details gives us an insight into which states have the most significant role to play in the country’s overall fascination with gaming.

Which US states have the biggest interest in gaming?

In terms of population, Maryland leads the way when it comes to an established gaming community. The state has the most Meetup groups for gaming per 100,000 people, at 385. The popularity of gaming in the state is enhanced by 5G coverage of around 53%.

Going by these measures, New Jersey and California are in second and third place in terms of US states most obsessed with gaming. New Jersey has 264 gaming Meetup groups per 100,000 and around 70% 5G coverage. California has the highest number of gaming conventions of any state at 10.

These are not the only measures you can look at to determine which US state is most obsessed with gaming. Research by the “I’m-A-Puzzle” site found that Nevada, Georgia, and New York are most interested in gaming. The researchers reached this conclusion by looking for video game-related searches online. The results for the top three states were:

  • Nevada – 7,658 searches per 100,000 people
  • Georgia – 7,636.12 searches per 100,000 people
  • New York – 7,596.88 searches per 100,000 people

The most searched-for terms included “PS5,” “Steam,” and “Nintendo Switch.”

So, depending on the measure, states including Maryland, New Jersey, California, Nevada, Georgia, and New York can all be considered “obsessed” with video gaming.

These findings do not include the commercial gaming sector, which achieved consumer spending of $60.46 billion in 2022. This figure includes traditional casino gaming revenue in addition to sports betting and igaming.

Interestingly, two of the states that feature as the most obsessed with video gaming are also big players in the commercial gaming market. The biggest commercial gaming market in 2022 was the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. Looking solely at the online sector, New Jersey has high levels of revenue from both casinos and sports betting. In August, New Jersey online casinos accounted for 65% of the overall state gross gaming revenue compared to land-based. 

One of only six states to have legalized online casinos, the industry is thriving. There are currently 32 online casino sites in the state, and overall revenue in this sector was 13.5% higher year-on-year in July 2023, at $155.2m.

Looking at the video gaming and commercial gaming markets combined, it appears that the states most “obsessed” with gaming overall are New Jersey and Nevada. Despite the high levels of gaming activity in these states, there is room for further growth at the state level and nationally.

This growth will be assisted by streaming technology, which enables the merging of gaming experiences across devices. Mobile is another factor that will drive both video gaming and commercial gaming forward. Around 25% of developers believe that mobile will be the fastest-growing game type by 2025.

In addition, further legalization of commercial gaming across the country and the expansion of the esports industry will promote additional growth across the video and commercial gaming industries in the US. This growth could lead to other states emerging as the most “obsessed” with gaming, although current evidence suggests that Nevada and New Jersey will continue to be high on any list.

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