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Casino gambling surges most since crisis

(BLOOMBERG) — Casino revenue in the U.S. climbed 4.8 percent in 2012, the industry’s biggest annual advance since the Great Recession hit four years earlier.

Consumer spending on casino gambling reached $37.3 billion last year, just below the $37.5 billion record haul in 2007, according to a report released today by the American Gaming Association, an industry trade group.

The group credits an improving U.S. economy and higher consumer spending for growth that was strongest in areas with new casinos, such as Maryland and Kansas. Some mature markets struggled, including New Jersey, which shrank 8 percent and lost its No. 2 ranking to neighboring Pennsylvania.

“After three years of increasing growth and positive signs in all sectors of the industry, it’s clear that we have weathered the recession,” said Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., chief executive officer of the American Gaming Association, in a statement.