|LAS VEGAS, Oct. 14, 2004 - With the polls showing a virtual dead heat
in the upcoming presidential election - and the candidates scrambling to
win the hearts of every undecided voter - a survey released today suggests
the campaigns would be wise to focus their attention on a constituency
that rarely is recognized for its political influence: casino gamblers.
More than 53 million American adults - 26 percent of those 21 and older
- made 310 million casino visits in 2003, according to "Profile of the
American Casino Gambler: Harrah's Survey 2004." The survey reveals that
gamblers are more likely than non-gamblers to have contributed money to
a political candidate or cause (26 percent vs. 19 percent) and to have
signed a petition in support of a political candidate or cause (51 percent
vs. 42 percent) in the past four years. In no category of political activism
were non-gamblers shown to be more engaged than casino gamblers.
Eighty percent of casino gamblers who participated in the study said
they "definitely" will vote in November, compared to 77 percent of non-gamblers.
Thirty-four percent of gamblers in the survey said their overall political
point of view was "mostly Democratic," as opposed to 27 percent of non-
gamblers. An additional 9 percent of gamblers said they are "leaning Democratic,"
as opposed to 11 percent of non-gamblers. Thirty-one percent of casino
gamblers described themselves as "mostly Republican" vs. 34 percent of
non-gamblers. Ten percent of gamblers are "leaning Republican," compared
to 9 percent of non-gamblers.
Fourteen percent of gamblers and 17 percent of non-gamblers consider
themselves "complete independents."
Gamblers and non-gamblers alike reported the economy is the single most
important issue in the upcoming election (18 percent and 14 percent, respectively),
with homeland security (14 percent and 13 percent, respectively) and the
war in Iraq (13 percent and 12 percent, respectively) rounding out the
top three. Both gamblers and non-gamblers say that honesty/integrity is
by far the most important characteristic of a presidential candidate.
"For years, `Profile of the American Casino Gambler' has dispelled long-
standing myths about gamblers' lifestyles, socioeconomic status and community
involvement," said Gary Loveman, Harrah's president and chief executive
officer. "We've known that gamblers are more active vacationers, investors
and restaurant- and movie-goers. With this year's survey we now know that
gamblers also are enthusiastic participants in politics and a significant
"Profile of the American Casino Gambler" also includes a special feature
based on a player survey taken at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), the
oldest, richest and most prestigious poker event ever established. Professional
and amateur players weighed in on topics such as: why they play this increasingly
popular game, how much of poker is skill vs. luck, how long they've been
playing and who the game's best players are.
ADDITIONAL POLITICAL/CIVIC FINDINGS
Far more non-gamblers than gamblers believe a candidate's positions on
abortion and gay marriage are important to how they will vote.
More than 40 percent of both gamblers and non-gamblers think there is too
much government regulation of individuals' behavior.
Casino gamblers tend to be more connected to community groups - particularly
volunteer, fraternal, union and political - while non-gamblers are more
active in religious groups.
With very few exceptions, casino gamblers have greater confidence than
non-gamblers in government, business and other institutions, such as the
military, banks/financial institutions, local law enforcement, the U.S.
Supreme Court, public schools, organized labor, and the criminal justice
The median household income of U.S. casino gamblers ($53,204) is 16 percent
higher than that of non-gamblers ($45,781).
Americans in upper income brackets have the highest casino gambling participation
rates (percentage of adults who gambled at least once in a casino during
the past 12 months), and those in the lowest income brackets have the lowest
casino participation rates. Nearly a third (32 percent) of individuals
with household incomes of more than $95,000 gambled in a casino in 2003,
while only 20 percent of those with annual incomes of less than $35,000
gambled in a casino.
More than three-quarters of casino players own their homes, compared to
71 percent of non-gamblers.
The typical casino player is about the same age as the typical American:
The median age of casino gamblers is 48 vs. 46 for the adult U.S. population.
The age bracket with the highest casino participation rate is the empty
nester years of 51 to 65 (29 percent).
Casino players are more likely than the national average to hold white-collar
jobs - 44 percent vs. 41 percent.
Lifestyle - Vacation and Entertainment
Gamblers are more likely than non-gamblers to have a variety of common
investments, including savings accounts, life insurance, retirement/pension
plans, mutual funds, stocks, real estate, money market accounts, certificates
of deposit, bonds and annuities.
Gamblers are more likely to be comfortable with their financial standing
as they age, whereas non-gamblers are more likely to worry they will not
have adequate funds for retirement.
When making financial and investment decisions, gamblers are more inclined
than non-gamblers to seek expert advice and reference a broad array of
If presented with a large sum of money, gamblers are more likely to save
or invest it, while non-gamblers are more inclined to use the money to
pay off debt.
Games of Choice
Two out of three casino gamblers take at least one long vacation trip per
year, while less than half of non-gamblers do.
Casino gamblers like to travel in style and are more likely than non-gamblers
to book upscale accommodations when they vacation.
Where Casino Players Live
Slot/video poker machines are the most popular game among both men and
women, with 66 percent of male and 81 percent of female gamblers reporting
they play electronic gaming machines most often.
Men prefer table games by a margin of more than two-to-one over women (20
percent to 8 percent), with blackjack/21 the single most popular table
Younger adults are most likely to play table games, with 18 percent of
21 to 35-year-olds reporting they play table games most often.
World Series of Poker Survey Highlights
Eight of the 20 most populous Designated Market Areas (DMAs) in the U.S.
have casino participation rates that are equal to or less than the national
average of 26 percent (Dallas/Ft. Worth; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; Houston;
Miami/Ft. Lauderdale; Tampa/St. Petersburg/Sarasota; Cleveland; Orlando/Daytona
Sixteen of 24 states in the South and the North East census regions had
casino participation rates below the national average.
Thirteen percent of professionals and 9 percent of amateurs are most annoyed
with players who are abusive toward or argue with the dealer.
Eight percent of professionals and 10 percent of amateurs are most put
off by bad attitudes and poor losers.
Six percent of professionals and 5 percent of amateurs are most bothered
by bad language at the table.
No Limit Texas Hold 'Em is the favorite game among both professionals and
Professionals have played poker for an average of 24 years; amateurs have
been playing for an average of 23 years.
Ninety-five percent of professional players are men; 98 percent of amateur
players are men.
Obviously, money is the primary reason professionals play poker, but 41
percent of amateurs also say they play for the money. Thirty-two
percent of professionals and 39 percent of amateurs say they play for the
More than half of World Series of Poker players enjoy playing other table
games at the casino. About a quarter also play slots and place bets
in the sports book.
Professional and amateur players consider Howard Lederer the best Limit
poker player in the world; they consider T.J. Cloutier the best No Limit
player in the world.
Professionals believe tournament play is 66 percent skill and 34 percent
luck; amateurs believe tournament play is 65 percent skill and 35 percent
"Profile of the American Casino Gambler: Harrah's Survey 2004" is based
on three studies: the National Profile Study and the U.S. Gaming Panel,
both conducted by TNS NFO on a nationwide basis; and a survey of amateur
and professional poker players at the 2004 World Series of Poker in Las
Vegas conducted by the marketing research department at Harrah's Entertainment,
Various subsidiaries of Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. own or manage 28
casinos in the United States, primarily under the Harrah's brand name.
Founded 67 years ago, Harrah's Entertainment is focused on building loyalty
and value with its valued customers through a unique combination of great
service, excellent products, unsurpassed distribution, operational excellence
and technology leadership. More information about Harrah's is available