And the Survey Says...

23 July 2002

The results from "Harrah's Survey 2002: A Profile of a Gambler" have been released. The comprehensive overview of casino gamblers distinguishes differences between casino players and non-players in the United States.

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 survey serves up a profile of the American casino gambler and finds that the typical casino player is in fact quite different from perceived stereotypes.

"Casino gambling's not for everyone, but our results suggest that there's nothing at all aberrant about an individual enjoying the occasional fun night out at a casino," said Dean Hesterman, Harrah's spokesman.

Harrah's Survey 2002 yields insights about the relationships among age, income, education and casino gambling. It identifies the areas of the country where casino gambling is most and least popular and pinpoints the top casino destinations for residents in each state and in major metropolitan areas. The survey highlights distinctions between the two groups on issues as disparate as retirement investing and leisure time activities.

"The study indicates that casino gamblers differ from non-gamblers in ways that flatter both casino customers and the casino industry," said Hesterman. "For example, contrary to the myths and innuendo that too often drive the casino debate, casino gamblers are financially more secure and savvy than non-gamblers, are more active in community and civic life and have broader appetites for a variety of life-enriching experiences like travel, dining out and cultural events."

The findings reveal that casino gamblers tend to be more financially secure and more likely to hold investments, as well as more active and enthusiastic participants in community groups and civic affairs.

The survey profiles the median household income of casino gamblers as 20 percent higher than the median household income of the rest of the overall U.S. population. The median household income of casino gamblers is $49,753 versus $41,343 for the overall U.S. population. Also, it is important to note that as the income of an individual rises, so does the likelihood that he or she is a casino gambler.

The survey delves into the financial concerns revolving around the gaming industry, finding that casino players are more likely to put their money in investments that offer more opportunity for long-term earnings during a 12-month period. While it is likely that casino players share the same financial concerns as other Americans, 57 percent of gamblers invested in retirement or pension plans as opposed to 43 percent of non-gamblers. The survey reveals that casino players are more inclined (53 percent versus 41 percent) to believe they have or will have enough money to live comfortably during their senior years and less concerned with their ability to meet basic financial obligations such as paying the mortgage or rent (20 percent versus 26 percent) and other debts.

Non-gamblers, however, were more likely (46 percent versus 41 percent) to report that "to become wealthy" is part of their idea of the American dream.

The survey also found that the typical casino player is middle-aged and more likely to be female.

Slot machines and electronic gaming devices are the games of choice among U.S. casino gamblers (74 percent versus 26 percent).

The survey also found that casino players are significantly more likely to participate in leisure activities such as travel (36 percent to 24 percent), fishing (31 percent versus 23 percent), camping (26 percent versus 19 percent), bicycling (22 percent versus 14 percent), dining out (92 percent versus 79 percent), going to movies (54 percent versus 43 percent) and cultural events (44 percent versus 34 percent).

The home and community section of the survey found that casino players on average rank being a good spouse and parent as the most important aspect of being successful in life. It also revealed that 40 percent of casino players versus 34 percent of non-gamblers view success as "being true to one's self."

Another interesting aspect of the home and community section of the survey is that gamblers rank manners and politeness as the qualities most essential to instill in their children (67 percent versus 61 percent for non-gamblers). Non-gamblers also tend to rank religious faith as a more important quality in raising their children (36 percent versus 28 percent for gamblers).

The results of the demographics section of the survey reveal that only three of the top feeder states, Nevada, Missouri and Louisiana, are not among the top 10 states in population. The results find that eight of the nation's 20 most populous designated market areas (DMAs) have casino penetration rates below the national average. Gamblers in the top 20 DMAs took nearly 51 percent of total U.S. casino trips, while the top five DMAs accounted for about a quarter of total U.S. casino participation.

This is the tenth anniversary of Harrah's annual survey of American gamblers.

"Our hopes are modest--we just want it to contribute to a more informed debate about the merits of casino gambling in places that have casinos and in places that are considering casinos," Hesterman said.