Poll: Social aspect most attractive to senior casino goers

LAS VEGAS -- The social aspect of a day at the casino interests senior citizens more than the gambling, according to an American Gaming Congress (AGC) poll.

The group, which said it seeks to "set the record straight" about why people gamble, released the survey at the World Gaming Congress held here last month.

In a survey of 300 senior citizens, 62% described casinos as an "inexpensive day out" for people on a fixed income.

More than 90% said they visit casinos with their family, friends or an organized group.

Ninety percent of seniors polled indicated that people should be able to spend their disposable income the way they want and that gambling is a question of personal freedom.

More than half of the seniors said "fun and entertainment" is the primary reason why they take a casino holiday.

Two casinos here established programs that benefit seniors.

  • MGM Mirage set up a program to keep seniors informed about issues such as taxes, Medicare and crime.
  • According to officials, more than 40 such sessions have been held since 1996, with attendance by U.S. governors, representatives, mayors, state legislators and community leaders as guest speakers.

  • Station Casinos sponsors forums as part of its Very Important Seniors program.
  • Station also has underwritten the cost to televise congressional debates that include audience participation from the program's members.

    AGC president and chief executive officer Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr. said the growing importance of seniors in the nation's political landscape led to the inclusion of that population segment in the AGC's annual State of the States report.

    JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI