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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Survey Profiles Recreational Gamblers

30 August 2006

Harrah's Entertainment distributes a survey every couple of years titled "Profile of the American Casino Gambler," the results of which are based upon two independent nationwide studies.

It identifies people who have visited casinos at least once during the same year as more affluent, more educated and more likely to hold a white-collar job than the national average.

The statistics go on to demonstrate that Americans who gamble as opposed to those who don't represent a powerful demographic of consumers whose expendable income and lifestyle label them as prime advertising targets.

It all adds up to stoking the marketing fires of an already powerful industry while giving impetus to the major gaming companies in their quest to solidify casino gambling as a mainstream entertainment and leisure time option.

Aside from that, there is a great deal of information contained in the newly released 2006 survey, which identifies average casino gamblers, who they are, what games they play and from what parts of the country they come.

Here are some of the highlights I gathered from the survey:

More than 25 percent of Americans age 21 and older (52.8 million) gambled at a casino at least once in 2005 with the average frequency pegged at 6.1 trips per year. The average age of the attendees was 45 and predominately female (52 percent).

Just 14 percent of single people age 21 and over were identified as gamblers, including only three percent in the prime consumer target age range of 21 – 35. Couples with no children living at home were 38 percent of the total, while parents with at least one child in the household came in 46 percent. The remaining two percent represent roommates.

The most popular casino game is no shocker. Seventy-one percent of those surveyed said slots and video poker, with the most popular denomination being quarter and fifty-cent games (38 percent), followed by nickel and ten-cent games (19 percent).

One surprise was that an equal number of slot players chose penny and two-cent games (seven percent) as those who play $1 to $4 machines, reflecting the nationwide trend toward the low denomination games.

Only 14 percent chose one of four table game selections. Blackjack is by far the most popular option (nine percent) followed by roulette, craps and live poker at two percent each. Five percent play other casino games and nine percent responded that they didn't know.

Curiously, the numbers certainly don't reflect the popularity of live poker, which indicates the game is evolving into a gambling entity unto itself, separate and apart from players who identify with slots and traditional table games. Harrah's Entertainment grabbed a marketing tiger by the tail when it obtained the rights to the World Series of Poker.

Illinois moved up from fourth place in 2003 to third behind California and New York in 2005 among the states generating the most casino trips, with Chicago ranked only behind New York City and Los Angeles as the cities identified as the top "feeder markets" for casino visits.

The highest participation rates among Americans 21 and older came from cities in the western sector, topped by Sacramento-Stockton in California which came in at 40 percent, followed by Phoenix, Arizona (38 percent) and Los Angeles (37 percent). Chicago was listed at 29 percent.

CASINO NEWS & NOTES:

An indication of just how powerful a marketing machine that live poker has become was evident from the recently concluded 2006 World Series of Poker at the Rio All-Suite Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas.

Jeffrey Pollack, WSOP commissioner, secured the following alliances for this year's competition: An agreement to keep the tournament on ESPN through 2010; a three-year presenting sponsorship with Milwaukee's Best Light; agreements with AOL and Glu Mobile; an arrangement with Bluff Media to create a dedicated channel on Sirius Satellite Radio and another with Card Player to serve as the official magazine of WSOP; a deal with the TRITON jewelry brand, a division of Frederick Goldman, to create the 2006 champion bracelets and a retail line of World Series of Poker themed jewelry; and the signing of Swiss watchmaker CORUM as the tournament's official timepiece.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp