The annual Visitors Profile from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is a good gauge to see how visitors spend their time and money when in Sin City. The small sample size of the survey isn’t 100% accurate but it helps build a picture of the average Las Vegas visitor. While these numbers are specific, they’re no absolutes.
According to the introduction of the profile:
“Las Vegas visitors in 2019 were more likely to say the main purpose of their trip was to gamble, and four in five said that they had gambled during their visit, the highest level in the past five years. The amount of time spent gambling and the amount of money budgeted for gambling both increased from 2018.”
People Still Visit Las Vegas To Gamble
Eight in ten (81%) 2019 visitors said they gambled while in Las Vegas. This is the highest proportion in the past five years. For comparison, only 69% of people visiting Las Vegas in 2016 said they gambled. Last year 14% of visitors said they were in Las Vegas primarily to gamble. That’s an increase from 7% in 2018 and only 5% in 2017.
The biggest surprise is that 18% of returning visitors said they were in Las Vegas primarily to gamble. There are better gaming rules with a lower house edge at casinos all over the country. Visiting Las Vegas specifically to play worse games might seem silly to experienced gamblers.
Sadly, the average tourist just loves gambling in Las Vegas. Vegas Baby!
Surprising Details On Where People Gamble In Las Vegas
It might be surprising to see where visitors to Las Vegas are gambling. Nearly nine in ten (89%) visitors who gambled said they gambled on the Vegas Strip. This part of Las Vegas typically has worse gambling rules. For example, just about all casinos on the Vegas Strip offer more 6:5 blackjack games than 3:2 blackjack games.
Just over one-third (37%) said they gambled in downtown Las Vegas. The gaming conditions in downtown Las Vegas are much better than the Vegas Strip. Most casinos spread 3:2 blackjack. The $5 3:2 blackjack game at El Cortez has the lowest house edge of any blackjack game in Las Vegas. Multiple downtown Las Vegas casinos offer up to 10x-20x odds in craps and double zero roulette. The Plaza even offers single zero roulette.
Only 42% of visitors to Las Vegas went to downtown Las Vegas last year. That’s down from 46% in 2018 and 57% in 2017. Of those who went downtown, only 14% said they were visiting primarily to gamble. Nearly half (45%) said they wanted to see the Fremont Street Experience.
Visitors Are Gambling Longer
One of the appeals of playing blackjack is that it sometimes goes slow and the lower house edge allows people to play longer. In 2019, 7% of gamblers played eight hours or longer per day. Another 6% played 7-8 hours each day of their Vegas vacation. Both are increases from the past few years.
The vast majority of gamblers visiting Las Vegas played less than two hours. In 2019, 62% of those who gambled barely spent time at the tables or machines. However, this is the lowest percentage since 2016.