When the going gets tough, the tough go to casinos.

That’s the takeaway from news that the U.S. gambling industry had its highest-grossing year ever in 2021, with a record $53 billion in revenue.

That’s up more than 20% from 2019 and blew right past the COVID-impacted $30 billion earned in 2020.

Bill Miller, chief executive of the American Gaming Assn., called last year’s record haul “nothing short of remarkable.”

He attributed the surge in part to increased sports betting, as well as the growth of online wagering.

It also helps that gambling is now legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia. Twenty-three of those states set full-year gambling revenue records last year.

Not surprisingly, casinos remain the industry’s biggest money makers, accounting for about $45 billion of last year’s record haul.

Miller said he’s optimistic this year will be even better for the gambling biz, but noted that casinos are “still reliant on the full return of travel and large events, which requires a safe health environment and open economy.”

I don’t know. If we’re setting gambling records amid lockdowns, it seems like a safe bet this year will be another good one for businesses that are more than happy to help you lose your shirt.