Harrah's Entertainment, since the early 90's, has regularly conducted surveys that attempt to quantify just what the typical American casino gambler is. In 2005 they conducted another one of these surveys and, on Monday, released their latest findings in a report entitled "Profile Of The American Casino Gambler". Throughout the survey there were several interesting looks at gaming in the United States, where the people are coming from and the potential for growth in the poker world as well.
Perhaps one of the more striking things about the survey is that nearly one in four Americans has visited a casino in the United States. In 2005, 52.8 million persons over the age of twenty one went to some form of casino or card room at least once during the year, generating over 322 million trips in 2005. This breaks down to an average of over six trips per year between the respondents, who were spread fairly evenly across all financial and demographical ranges. Naturally, because of the proximity of Las Vegas and the wider availability of casinos in that region, people who live in the West were more likely to have visited a casino but residents of the Northeast weren't far behind, more than likely because of the development of Indian casinos in that region.
Another interesting point in the survey is how much growth there still is regarding the world of poker. Slot machines and video poker by far dominated the rest of the offerings in the casino as seven of ten respondents said that is what they went to the casinos for and was their favorite type of gaming. This was a trend that was seen as well when the numbers were broken down by region, sex and different ages. Live poker, surprisingly, was well down the list of favorites, demonstrating that there is still a tremendous amount of growth available to the casino world of live poker.
Finally, and perhaps not surprisingly, when it came to the differences between gamblers and non-gamblers, the gamblers showed they were more daring than their non-gaming counterparts. They are the first to want to experience new things (restaurants, technology and such) and are also more optimistic about their financial futures, save more for the future and have retirement plans in place. In perhaps another non-surprising factor of the survey, non-gamblers feel that religion has more of a place in their lives than gamblers do.
Overall, the survey presents a fascinating look at the world of gaming and the people who make it up. I look at it as a clear signal that there is still much growth to the world of poker and there are also millions who haven't found the excitement that a trip to a casino can have. For a full look at the report (which can be viewed with Adobe Acrobat), be sure to visit harrahs.com/harrahs-corporate/about-us-profile-of-gambler.html and draw your own conclusions.
Ed Note: Draw your own conclusions, while playing 5 Card Draw (!) at Pokerroom.com