50 million US adults visit casinos
By Paul
A survey released last week by Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. reveals significant differences between gamblers and non-gamblers, and suggests that common stereotypes of gamblers are off the mark.

The survey, commissioned by Harrah's Entertainment, Inc., is based on two nationwide studies: the Roper Reports, conducted by Roper ASW, and the U.S. Gaming Panel, conducted by NFO WorldGroup, Inc

'The results of this survey disprove a number of longstanding myths about casino players,' said Gary Loveman, Harrah's president and CEO. 'The findings demonstrate that casino players have broad appetites for life-enriching experiences, are financially stable and responsible, and are active in political and community life.'

The survey also explores the relationship between income, age, education, and casino gambling; and identifies the areas of the country where casino gambling is most and least popular.

Some interesting facts emerge from the study:

The median household income of casino gamblers is $49,753 versus $41,343 for the overall U.S. population - a 20% difference.

The typical casino player is middle-aged and more likely to be female, according to the survey. The median age of casino gamblers is 46, with casino participation peaking in the 51-56 age group. The male/female ratio of casino players is 45%/55%, while the ratio among the overall U.S. population is 48%/52 %.

Casino players are more likely to put their money in investments that offer more opportunity for long-term earnings: During a 12-month period, 57% of gamblers invested in a retirement or pension plan as opposed to 43% of non-gamblers.

While gamblers share many of the same leisure time preferences as Americans overall, they are far more active in their leisure time. Gamblers are more avid readers and are far more likely to be out-and-about eating at restaurants, traveling on weekends, going to cultural events and engaging in other activities outside the home.

Casino players are more inclined to participate in civic and political affairs. They are more likely than non-gamblers to have signed a petition (34% versus 25%); attended a public, town or school meeting (22% versus 14%); or served as an officer of a club or organization (10 % versus 6%).

Casino players prefer slot machines and video poker machines to table games: 74% versus 14%, with 8% expressing no preference. Table games are most popular among younger adults and least popular among the country's oldest casino players.

53.2 million adults (age 21 or older) made a total of 303.3 million trips to gamble at casinos last year, or an average of 5.7 visits per gambler per year. With a total U.S. adult population of 196.9 million, the 53.2 million adult visitors in 2001 represent a national casino gambling participation rate of 27%.

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