Survey: Machines (and food!) tops with patrons

Sep 10, 2007 11:48 PM

Over the past few years, poker and table games have increased their share of casinos’ gaming revenue.

But slot machines are still the game of choice for most players, according to results of a survey released last week.

According to Vertis Communications’ 2007 Customer Focus Casino/Gaming study, about 78 percent of adults reported playing slot machines and dining at restaurants in the casinos they visited in the past year.

Shopping followed in popularity according to 42 percent of respondents. Surprisingly, only 9 percent of adults reported participating in sports or race betting.

"In 2006 it was estimated that 29 percent of adults surveyed would visit a casino; however, predictions were surpassed with adult visitation reaching 37 percent," said Jim Litwin, vice president of market at Vertis Communications. "A cause for the continued growth is the extensive experiences casinos offer with new entertainment and dining options."

Litwin added that, if casinos want to continue attracting a wider audience beyond those who simply gamble, it is important to create amenities that reflect additional entertainment offerings.

Although consumers are already visiting casinos, there are a few factors that influence their decisions as to which location to frequent.

Specifically, 59 percent of casino visitors said services/ambiance is most important. Ambiance is described as a clean, friendly, comfortable, family-oriented, and fun environment.

Meanwhile, 40 percent of adults are swayed by activities such as a swimming pool and dining options.

Games and casino locations (as it relates to weather, distance and size) were only important to 33 percent and 20 percent of respondents, respectively.

The Vertis Communications Customer Focus Casino/Gaming study is based on telephone interviews with more than 2,000 consumers.

Other results of the study include:

”¡ Women ages 50-64 were the largest group to play slot machines at the casinos they visited, according to 85 percent of respondents.

”¡ Dining at casinos was equally popular among men ages 50-64 and women ages 50-64, both 84 percent.

”¡ Although it was not surprising that 53 percent of women 35-49 shopped at casinos, 44 percent of men 18-24 and men 25-34 also participated in this activity in the last 12 months.

”¡ 58 percent of men 25-34 and 53 percent of men 18-24 were the largest groups playing table games.

”¡ Meanwhile, 40 percent of men 35-49 and 50-64 and 37 percent of women 18-24 attended a show during their casino visit.

The casino customer’s income often influences what they look for in a casino. Here are results based on household income:

”¡ For 65 percent of adults with a household income of $100,000 or more, "service" is the most important factor when selecting a casino.

”¡ Activities such as concerts, dining and swimming pools were also determining factors for 44 percent of adults with a $100,000 or higher income, while only 38 percent of adults with income from $50,000 to $75,000 listed these activities as the most important.

”¡ Gaming options, including winning percentages, selection and gambling limits were most important to 35 percent of adults with income of $50,000 to $75,000.

”¡ For 33 percent of adults with an income of $75,000 - $100,000, location (convenience, size, and weather) was most important when deciding which casino to visit; however, this was only a factor for 25 percent of adults with an income under $50,000.

The demographics of casino customers played a role in their visitation habits:

”¡ Of all the age groups surveyed, 32 percent of women 50-64 have visited their local casino one or more times in the past 12 months, followed closely by 30 percent of men 35-49 and 50-64.

”¡ Men 35-49 and 50-64 have visited their local casino three or more times according to 15 percent of respondents; women 35-49 were the smallest group with only 6 percent claiming they have frequented a casino on three or more occasions.

”¡ 28 percent of men 50-64 claimed they have visited a major casino destination such as Las Vegas or Atlantic City more than once in the past year, leading the category for men.

”¡ Similarly, 22 percent of women 18-24 have visited a destination casino more than once in the past year.

”¡ Of the adults who visited a major casino destination more than three times, men 65 and older took the lead by 11 percent.

The Vertis survey was first conducted in 1998 and, in subsequent years, has been expanded and modified to identify emerging consumer behavior patterns and track shifts in consumer practices and motivations.

The study has become useful for financial, credit cards, insurance, publishing, casino gaming, retail, automotive, advertising and marketing companies.