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Marketers set sights on Latinos

Nov 2, 2004 3:20 AM

Recent proposals to reopen the old Showboat with a Hispanic theme or convert the Western Hotel to all-Hispanic properties may be good news for Hispanics — and for the operators who follow through on the proposals.

Hispanic visitors to Las Vegas display much the same preferences and tendencies as non-Hispanic visitors, according to information gathered by a Los Angeles advertising agency that counts Circus Circus and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority among its clients.

The data gathered by the agency is of interest to gaming interests because of the casinos’ increasing desire to tap into the growing Hispanic gaming market.

Barrick Gaming, which bought Jackie Gaughan’s downtown properties except for the El Cortez, has already announced plans to make the Western Hotel on Fremont Street a Hispanic-themed destination resort.

The ad agency, Castells and Asociados, said their studies show that 31 percent of the Hispanic population gambles, as compared with 33 percent of the non-Hispanic population. About 8 percent of the Hispanic population is described as moderate gamblers — those who gamble three-to-five times a year — as opposed to 7 percent of the non-Hispanic population.

Las Vegas and Laughlin are the preferred gambling destinations for Hispanics rather than other gambling venues around the country, according to the agency. When visiting Las Vegas, 73 percent of the Hispanics prefer to stay on the Strip while 11 percent like downtown. They budget $300 for gambling over a three-day period with their average bet in the $10 and $20 range.

Hispanics prefer slot machines to table games by a 79 percent to 19 percent margin, possibly because there are fewer language barriers with machines.

The ad agency has also gathered information on the Hispanic presence in Laughlin. The agency said the number of Hispanic visitors in Laughlin increased from 8 percent in 2002 to 10 percent in 2003. Castells and Asociados noted that city staged its first Viva Laughlin Festival last month.

The ad agency advises casinos to have services and materials readily available in Spanish. Other suggestions include having Spanish-speaking hotel reservation operators and brochures in Spanish that provide information on players club programs and other casino activities.first Viva Laughlin Festival last month.

The ad agency advises casinos to have services and materials readily available in Spanish. Other suggestions include having Spanish-speaking hotel reservation operators and brochures in Spanish that provide information on players club programs and other casino activities.