Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Is the Land of Casinos finally getting tired of casinos?

I do not know the US very well, and certainly far less well than I should.

However, from my superficial and patchy acquaintance with the country, it certainly gives the impression of having more casinos than any other country in the world.

So it might interest you, dear Reader (specially if you invest in companies that provide casino-type "entertainment") that fewer Americans are likely to visit a casino this year than did so last year.

In fact, accroding to a new Harris Interactive Poll, a clear majority of Americans say they are not likely to visit a casino in the next year. And 59% say they have not visited a casino in the past 12 months.

As with most studies, the group undertaking the study naturally does not want to turn off potential customers from the gaming industry. So it suggests that developers of new casinos might like to consider that people are willing to travel to casino destinations for a variety of experiences beyond gambling - e.g. shopping and visiting restaurants. In fact, Jim Quilty, vice president of Travel and Tourism Research at Harris, put it this way: "Casino/resorts have found a way to enrich the value of experiences they offer visitors, and in the process are capturing a larger 'share of wallet' of entertainment spend."

I would put it differently. As the appeal of gambling has declined, companies whose primary business used to be gambling have had to look beyond gambling to create more income. As they have begun to emphasise the rest of their offers, people who would never go to a gambling destination, are apparently willing to go to that destination, not for gambling but for the other activities (Las Vegas, for instance, has become less of a "gambler's town" and more of a "conference town").

This has the advantage, from the viewpoint of the companies and locations involved that a greater range of people comes in to provide custom. But it has the disadvantage, from society's point of view, that people who would never have gone to a gambling destination will experiment with gambling because they come a destination which has gambling available, and get hooked on it.

The original story that I saw is at: Sphere: Related Content

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