The results of the latest American Gaming Association (AGA) State of the States survey are in: American gamblers are regular people who form a comprehensive “portrait of the American electorate,” according to association president Geoff Freeman. Those who would negatively stereotype casino-goers should think again, according to the survey. The only generalizations that can be made about Americans who like to gamble seem to be positive or neutral ones.
The Portrait of an American Casino Patron
Americans who like to frequent brick-and-mortar casinos generally possess these personal characteristics, according to the survey:
Age: Most patrons are between the ages of 21 and 59. This segment of the population is, incidentally, the “target audience” to which most businesses cater their efforts. Almost 40 percent of patrons are between the ages of 21 and 39, proving that the younger demographic can be partial to casinos.
Education: Most patrons are well-educated people who attended college. Nearly half of them completed a degree.
Income: Many patrons make between $60,000 and $100,00 per year. Almost two thirds own their own home.
Religion: A majority of patrons attend regular religious services of some type. One fourth of these patrons are “evangelical” or “born-again” Christians.
Casino Gambling: An “Acceptable” Activity
Along with identifying its consumer demographics, the survey measured the public's opinion of gambling at large. A whopping 87 percent deemed it an “acceptable” activity. This figure is higher than it has ever been, suggesting that the public's once-harsh opinion of gambling continues to soften over time. Indeed, as the activity becomes legal in more and more US locations, society has become more accepting of these games of chance.
America's Casino Industry: Ratings Are Fair
When asked their opinion of the American casino industry, 47 percent of those polled expressed a positive sentiment. Nearly 25 percent expressed a dislike for the industry, while another 27 percent said they had no opinion. Some experts believe that this generally positive finding flies in the face of critics who claim that casinos prey upon minorities. For years, naysayers have argued that casinos unfairly target Asian Americans, the elderly, and even children. With only 25 percent of the general population expressing an aversion to the industry, these stereotypes have been challenged.
The AGA's State of the States survey illustrates more than just demographics and general public opinions. It provides a detailed analysis of many of the factors associated with American gambling. Note: Due to the time it takes to record and report the information, the 2013 report includes data from 2012. This data is reported below.
The Industry's Impact on the National Economy
The US provides its residents the following types of gambling: Land-based casinos, riverboat casinos, gambling racetracks, tribal casinos (read more), card rooms, and electronic gaming devices. Some states also offer non-casino locations where electronic gaming machines may be used. Oregon ranks highest in this category with an astounding 2,322 electronic gaming terminals. Louisiana trails close behind with 2,071 gaming machines; Nevada has 2,003.
In 2012, America's gambling industry provided jobs to over 322,000 people, cut paychecks to these employees to the tune of over $13 billion, and paid $8.6 billion to the government in gaming taxes. Gross revenue added up to about $37 billion. In short, the industry continues to provide US citizens with a wealth of career opportunities. These opportunities, in turn, stimulate the country's economy.
Commercial Casinos: Bringing in the Revenue
The American government likes its corporate casinos because they deliver much-needed tax revenue to state coffers. The AGA's report examined tax revenue for each state and made side-by-side comparisons of revenues from 2011 and 2012. Kansas was the big winner, scoring an impressive revenue increase of 600 percent. The state with the second highest increase was Maryland, scoring a 143 percent increase in revenue. Only eight states experienced a revenue decrease from 2011 to 2012: Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, and West Virginia.
Casino Employment Rates Continue to Fluctuate Across America
The number of commercial casino jobs per state was also compared. Maine experienced the largest boom in casino employment with an increase rate of 143 percent. Maryland came in second with an employment increase of 72 percent. Nine states saw a decrease in the number of available casino jobs: Nevada, Mississippi, Louisiana, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, West Virginia, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
Casino Revenue, City by City
Within the states, some areas fared better than others in terms of revenue. The Las Vegas Strip was the best performing region of all in 2012, raking in a jaw-dropping $6 billion in profits. All other regions' profits were dwarfed in comparison; the second-highest revenue of $3 billion went to Atlantic City, and the third-highest revenue of $2.2 billion went to the Chicagoland area of Illinois.
Favorite Casino Games
The poll asked patrons which casino games they loved the most. Their number one answer: Slot machines and video poker. Blackjack came in at a distant second, with roulette, poker, and craps trailing behind in 3rd, 4th, and 5th places, respectively.
Other Casino Activities
Respondents indicated that they participated in other activities as well when they would visit a casino. Approximately 65 percent said they enjoyed dining at an on-campus restaurant; 39 percent said they loved to see the live entertainment. Shopping was popular with 33 percent of the interviewed crowd, while bars and nightclubs entertained about 17 percent and spa treatments held special allure for approximately 14 percent.
Every year, the AGA completes a State of the States poll to measure how the gambling industry is doing in America. The results from the most recent survey indicate that the popular US gaming industry continues to thrive.