Hotel Online  Special Report

 Profile of the American Casino Gambler: 
Harrah's Survey 2004


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 political constituency."

"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.


  • 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 system.

Player Demographics

  • 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.
Money Management
  • 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 resources.
  • 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.
Lifestyle - Vacation and Entertainment
  • 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.
Games of Choice
  • 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 game.
  • 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.
Where Casino Players Live
  • 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 Beach/Melbourne)
  • Sixteen of 24 states in the South and the North East census regions had casino participation rates below the national average.
World Series of Poker Survey Highlights
  • 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 amateurs.
  • 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 challenge.
  • 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 luck.

"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, Inc.

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 at

Harrah's Entertainment, Inc.
Also See: Survey Sheds Light on the 50 million Americans Who Visited a Casino Last Year / Player Characteristics and Demographics Revealed in New National Survey / July 2002
Is Gambling America's National Pastime? The American Gaming Association Makes a Case for It / June 2004

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.Online Search

Home | Welcome! | Hospitality News | Classifieds | Catalogs & Pricing | Viewpoint Forum | Ideas/Trends
Please contact Hotel.Online with your comments and suggestions.