Las Vegas survey delivers some surprising results about gambling

Dec 16, 2020 |
By: Marc Meltzer
Las Vegas survey delivers some surprising results about gambling
The average gambling budget per Las Vegas trip was $530.11 in 2014, up from 2010 when the average gambling budget was $466.20.
The average gambling budget per Las Vegas trip was $530.11 in 2014, up from 2010 when the average gambling budget was $466.20.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority recently released their annual survey on the visitors to Las Vegas from the previous year. The information is about who visits Las Vegas every year and what they do when they’re in Vegas. Some of the information will surprise Covers readers.

Only 12 percent of people visiting Las Vegas last year came specifically to gamble.

On the surface, that number is shocking but it really shouldn’t be too surprising. Las Vegas is seen by many people as the mecca of legalized gambling in America. That still may be the case, but you can pretty much gamble in some form or another all over the country. You can now find legal gambling in all but two states - Hawaii and Utah. So, if someone really wants to pull a slot machine or play some blackjack they can do it closer to home. It's not the same experience but it may be enough to satisfy the craving to gamble.

This isn’t to say that people who visit Las Vegas don’t gamble. Gambling just isn’t the main reason to visit. At some point during their trip 71 percent of people that visited Las Vegas last year still did some kind of gambling. This is why casinos can offer games with worse odds than ever.

The majority of visitors to Vegas aren’t experienced gamblers and they’re not specifically looking to gamble. When they sit down at the blackjack table (or any other game for that matter) they’re just looking to play and hopefully win in the short term. They know the house has the advantage and don't really care about how big it actually is.

The average visitor in Vegas last year stayed 3.2 days. That makes sense since about a third of the visitors come from California for a long weekend. What may surprise you is how much money the gamblers budget for gambling when in Vegas.

The average gambling budget per trip was $530.11. That’s $176.70 per day on average. While that doesn’t seem like much of a budget it’s a fairly large increase from 2010 when the average gambling budget was $466.20. This number is the average visitor who plans on gambling, so consider high rollers and extreme low rollers as outliers.

When you visit Las Vegas how much time do you spend gambling in your day? Before moving to Vegas, I’d say that my days in Sin City were about 50 percent gambling and 50 percent everything else (including sleep, eat, etc.). Last year, the average person gambling spent 2.6 hours per day gambling. That feels like one session of blackjack to me but I know I’ve never been the average visitor to Las Vegas.

People still love to see shows when they visit Las Vegas. Last year, 65 percent of visitors saw some kind of show. The majority of those that saw shows went to see lounge acts (77%) and not the big name headliners (17%) you might expect.

I’m someone that has loved Las Vegas from different points of view. I loved every trip as a tourist and I enjoy every day in Vegas as a resident.

It’s great to see that more people than ever were “very satisfied” with their trip to Vegas last year. Last year, 96 percent of people were very satisfied with their visit to Las Vegas. Two years ago that number was only 89 percent. Viva Las Vegas!

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