Reno Residents Casino Visits Based on More Than Gambling, Poll Says

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In a recent piece on the long-debated issue of online casino market cannibilization in the U.S, we discussed the demographic differences between physical casino customers and online gamblers.

One thing we highlighted was the continuing trend in the U.S. casino business of focusing on nongambling amenities as a growing revenue driver.

One new poll published this week from Reno, Nevada, sometimes called The Biggest Little City in the World, underlined that point.

Local media outlet The Reno Gazette surveyed its readers about the changing U.S. casino industry. It asked what, if anything, they do in the dozens of casinos in the city, and what their opinions are about casino gambling.

The results showed that increasingly, casino visitors care less about gambling as the central activity of their visit, but more about the entertainment, dining, and nightlife options that are also available.

Poll Results

Reno may not be Las Vegas, but the casino businesses in the city still employ 14% of its entire workforce.

About 75% of city residents have been to a casino at least once in the past month, with 40% visiting more than five times per year.

The most revealing data, however, came from the simplest question – why do you go to casinos?

Only 6% of respondents in this particular survey said that they went to Reno’s casinos primarily for gambling.

Slightly more than 50% said they visit casinos for all the experiences they offer, including nightlife, entertainment, dining, and gambling.

Some 35% said drinking and dining options were their main reasons for visiting casinos in Reno.

The poll also surveyed people about their gambling wins and losses. Some 37% of gamblers said they had never won more than $1,000. But another 37% said they had hit a big win at one of the city’s casinos.

In 2023, Reno recorded its largest jackpot win of $14 million. In early April, one lucky visitor won the massive progressive jackpot slot prize on a Megabucks machine at the Atlantis Casino Resort.

Booming Nevada

Reno’s casino goers may say they go for other reasons. But in Las Vegas, the casino gaming floor is still king.

Casino gaming revenues hit more than a billion for several consecutive months in a row towards the end of 2023, in what was a record year for overall U.S. gaming revenues.

But all that doesn’t mean casinos haven’t been diversifying. In fact, record revenues might partly be because of diversification.

Las Vegas has been heavily investing into becoming a sports town, culminating in the hugely successful first Super Bowl in Nevada, held this past February.

Sin City also bought Formula 1 racing to Nevada in November of last year.

Big ticket events helped Nevada bring in record gaming revenues in 2023, up 11% year-on-year.

That data doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes, gambling hit record revenues. But so did visitor numbers at the city’s Harry Reid International Airport.

Therefore, it could be argued that potentially, customers may be gambling less or the same, but there are just more of them.

Mike Bean, CEO of Arizona’s Desert Diamond Casinos, put it succinctly in a recent study by Missouri-based marketing agency LaneTerralever.

“We look to avoid the veto vote,” he said.

“So, if you have just gaming and you have a couple of couples, and they say, ‘We’re going to the casino,’ and we have slots and tables and not much else, there’s probably going to be a couple of people in the group that say, ‘I don’t do that.’ So, you know, that keeps the whole group from going. Our strategy is to really have something for everybody.”

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