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US – American opinion on casinos becoming more favourable

By - 13 June 2014

Voters across the political spectrum view casino gaming more favourably than ever before, according to a new nationwide poll conducted by respected political pollsters Mark Mellman and Glen Bolger, and the vast majority recognises that casino gaming creates jobs, strengthens local businesses and benefits communities.

The new survey also squashes stereotypes of the typical casino visitor.

The timely findings come as many state policy makers begin to re-examine punitive gaming taxes, inefficient regulations and other threats to casinos in an increasingly competitive environment.

The results also come at the same time the American Gaming Association is releasing the latest nationwide gross gaming revenues, which increased one per cent from $37.34bn in 2012 to $37.78bn in 2013.

“Voters recognise that casinos are a mainstream form of entertainment and an economic driver that supports jobs and boosts growth in communities across the nation,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association. “Casino visitors are a portrait of the American electorate, and voters are giving policymakers permission to treat casinos like any other business. The AGA will aggressively pave the way for policies that reflect voters’ favourable view of gaming, protects jobs and promotes innovation.”

The national telephone survey was conducted by Democratic pollster Mark Mellman, CEO of the Mellman Group, and Republican pollster Glen Bolger, founder and partner of Public Opinion Strategies.
By a 2-1 margin, American voters view casino gaming favourably. More than 70 per cent of voters recognise that casinos create jobs. Nearly 60 per cent of voters know that casinos boost local economies. A majority even says casinos shouldn’t pay more taxes than other businesses.

Mr. Mellman added: “Across partisan, ideological and geographic divisions, the vast majority agree that gaming is acceptable. Voters overwhelmingly believe casinos have a positive effect on local communities. Nearly two-thirds of casino visitors leave the property to patronize neighbouring local small businesses and other attractions.”

The typical casino customer was between 21 and 59 years old, earning $60 to $99k a year with 70 per cent saying they’re middle class. Nearly two-in-three casino visitors own a home with nearly half holding a bachelor’s degree, 16 per cent more than national rate. And two-thirds of casino visitors attend church.

“Casino visitors aren’t who some think they are,” said Mr. Bolger. “Most casino visitors are between the ages of 21 and 59, and a plurality earns $60 to 99k a year. They’re also well educated, churchgoing voters who volunteer and contribute to their communities. And when they gamble, nearly three-quarters of visitors set a budget before they walk in the door.”

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