Good News for Casino Players - Sunday 12th of June 2005

Are you tired of having your non-gaming friends eye you warily when you tell them you enjoy frequent trips to the casinos? Do questions like, "Don't be offended, but are you a compulsive gambler?" offend you? Are you sick of seeing casino players constantly portrayed as people living on the edge of income extinction?

Well, if you answered yes to any or all of the above questions, take heart. The results of a new survey commissioned by Harrah's and undertaken by Roper ASW and NFO Worldgroup, both leading public pollsters, will have you proudly proclaiming to any and all, "I am a casino player; what of it?" That's because this new survey shows casino players to be -- how can I put this delicately? -- better than the average person. Yes, we're more generous, thriftier, more astute and more successful than those who eschew the casino life.

The Harrah's findings should put to rest the negative stereotypes of the casino player because here's what was discovered:

None of the above findings surprised me because my personal experience with casino players always indicated they make more money, save more money, enjoy their money more and are more generous with their money than are non-players.

One area where I was surprised, however, concerned the difference between casino players and non-players when it came to prayer. Only 35 percent of casino players engaged in some form of prayer as opposed to 51 percent of the non-gamblers. I would have thought about 99 percent of casino players would have answered "yes" to prayer as I've seen more praying in casinos than in church or temple - but maybe those kinds of prayers ("Please, God, let me hit that jackpot!") don't really count.

The Harrah's survey also gives the lie to the widespread notion that millions of poor people are being suckered into the casinos where they can ill-afford the cost of the games. Casino players evidently know how to budget their money wisely and to use only a small amount of their discretionary income for gambling purposes.

Interestingly enough, there are 197.1 million adult Americans and fully 26 percent of them gamble in casinos. That's a massive 51.2 million adults who enjoy trips to Lady Luckland yet the bulk of the casino player population comes from the upper income brackets, those who make $55,000 or more per year. Approximately, one third of all adults in that economic range go to casinos. However, those in the lower economic group, who make under $35,000 a year, show casino participation of about 20 percent.

The Harrah's survey challenges most of the negative stereotypes associated with our entertainment of choice, casino gaming, and it also goes a long way towards debunking the cliché spread by the anti-casino-gaming forces that millions upon millions of American lives have been ruined by casino gaming. It just isn't so.

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