LAS VEGAS - According to a report released today by the American Gaming Association (AGA), “those who know casinos the best embrace them the most.” Fully 70 percent of residents of counties where casinos are located said they think casinos have had a positive impact on the economy and job market in the area.
The survey, conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates and the Luntz Research Companies to measure Americans’ perceptions of the commercial casino industry, also revealed that, nationally, 83 percent of the public believes casino gambling is an acceptable activity either for themselves or others. The survey results are part of the third annual State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment.
“This report shows that casino gaming has won the acceptance of the American people, particularly those who know us the best,” AGA President and CEO Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. said. “It also shows that the industry has become a vibrant part of the national economy, as well as a trusted community partner. Casino gaming is an engine for economic development that makes the towns and cities where we operate better places to live.”
Hart and Luntz focused their poll on residents of casino counties in an attempt to gauge local support for commercial casinos, and the results reveal a constituency that is strongly in favor of the industry. When asked if a referendum were held in their area on whether to keep casino gaming in their community, a sizeable 68 percent said they would vote to keep their local casinos. The survey also showed that two-thirds of casino county residents said that, thanks to revenues from casinos, local communities have more money to pay for roads, schools, hospitals and other projects.
On a national scale, Hart/Luntz discovered a public that views casinos as an acceptable entertainment option. An overwhelming number of Americans - 90 percent - consider gambling to be a matter of personal choice, and a significant majority appreciates its contribution to the economy.
AGA’s State of the States report also includes important economic data on the commercial casino industry. According to the report, the industry provided more jobs, higher wages and more tax revenues to states and local communities across the country in 2000 than ever before.
According to the data, there are more than 425 commercial casinos currently operating in 11 states. Key economic findings of the report revealed that:
- The industry provided more than 14,000 new jobs during 2000, bringing the total number of commercial casino industry employees to more than 370,000.
- Tax revenues contributed by the industry climbed to nearly $3.5 billion, almost $500 million higher than 1999 figures.
- Although the total number of operating casinos decreased slightly in 2000, overall revenues increased. The gross gaming revenue for the commercial casino industry totaled almost $25 billion – more than $2 billion higher than in 1999.
- Commercial casino employees earned more than $10.9 billion in wages last year, an increase of nearly $1 billion from 1999.
The report highlights the casino industry’s contributions to states and local communities across the country last year. According to the report, the $3.5 billion in tax revenue generated by the commercial casino industry in 2000 helped finance a wide range of community improvements, including increased education spending, improvement of local infrastructures, expansion of municipal services, protection and beautification of neighborhoods, and more.
In addition to presenting national and statewide economic data on the commercial casino industry, the report also includes information from Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc./NFO WorldGroup, Inc. that profiles casino customers. As in past years, the typical casino customer in 2000 mirrored the U.S. population in terms of age and gender. These customers also continued to have higher incomes and more education than the average American.
The AGA represents the commercial casino-entertainment industry by addressing federal legislative and regulatory issues. The association also serves as a clearinghouse for information, develops educational and advocacy programs, and provides leadership on industry-related issues of public concern.
For a copy of the survey, call the AGA at 202-637-6500, or view the findings by clicking here.