Las Vegas is experiencing a spike in new visitors and an increase in younger age groups, but the number of visitors who spend time on the gaming floors of its casinos continues to decline. According to latest data from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), the number of visitors who gamble while visiting the city stood at 69 percent, dropping from the low 70s recorded earlier.
First time visitors accounted for 27 percent of all those who visited Las Vegas in 2016, a sharp jump from the previous year’s high teens percentage. Millennials were now over a third of all tourists growing from roughly 25 percent in 2015, resulting in the average age of visitors dropping to 44 years.
Kevin Bagger, executive director of LVCVA’s research center said that first time visitors were likely to be either millennials or international visitors. The spike in younger visitors is a possible indicator that the new approach adopted by casinos to focus on non-gaming amenities is paying off. As per LVCVA data, visitors are now spending lesser time on gaming floors. Visitors spent less than two hours gambling last year, dropping from three hours seen in the previous four years.
Casinos have been pushed to invest in a range of non-gaming attractions such as nightclubs and entertainment features like sporting events due to gaming revenue stagnating in the past few years. Las Vegas now has some of the best nightclubs, live performances and restaurants in the country.
The only bright spot seen in the report for gaming is that people are allocating more money. Visitors budgeted around $619 for gambling in 2016 as opposed to $579 in the previous year. Bagger stated that the increase could be possibly attributed to the improving economy and stronger job market.
Around 50 percent of the visitors said that they were spending money on entertainment such as going to a museum as opposed to a third back in 2012. Visitors are also devoting more time to sightseeing. One in five tourists are heading to nearby destinations like the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, rising from the one in seven seen in 2012. Overall, the total number of visitors to Las Vegas was up 1.5 percent last year to reach a record high of 42.9 million.
Californian residents continued to account for over a third of the total visitors according to Bagger.
The data is captured annually by GLS Research, a San Francisco-based research firm that prepares the report based on information collected from 3,600 tourists who were polled through 2016.