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AGA Launches G2KG

The American Gaming Association last week launched its “Get to Know Gaming” campaign designed to proactively point out the benefits of casino gaming to communities, individuals and customers. The goal is getting the industry treated like any other business.

A new survey released by the American Gaming Association confirms that Americans are solidly behind casino gaming and recognize the benefits the industry brings to communities. The survey is the launch of a new campaign called “Get to Know Gaming” (G2KG), which is designed to proactively boast of the benefits of casino gaming in the U.S.

“There has never been a better time to go on the offensive,” American Gaming Association President Geoff Freeman told the Las Vegas Review Journal. “There is no need to be defensive. The public has seen the value of having casinos and we need to promote the hell out of the industry.”

Conducted by the politically diverse polling groups, the Mellman Group and Public Opinion Strategies, the poll showed strong support for casino gaming:

• 57 percent support casino gaming and an all-time high of 87 percent agree that gaming is an acceptable activity.

• More than 70 percent of respondents agree that casinos create jobs.

• Nearly two-thirds of casino customers say they spend money in the adjacent casino communities.

The survey showed that casino customers are a cross-section of America:

• 63 percent of casino customers are homeowners and 70 percent are middle class or upper middle class.

• Almost half of casino customers are college graduates, a full 16 points higher than the national average.

• More than one-third attend religious services each week with a quarter of them described as evangelicals.

• 56 percent of visitors are between 21 and 49 years of age.

• There is no dominant political view of casino customers with Democrats, Republicans and independents split relatively evenly.

• 23 percent earn between $60,000 and $99,000 a year.

• When visiting a casino, customers set a gambling budget of less than $200.

• The reasons for going to a casino are the same for nearly two-thirds of the respondents: to “have fun and socialize with family and friends.”

• More than half of the respondents agree that casinos should be treated like any other business.

• Respondents agree that casinos are part of the communities where they are located and almost half of them would like to see more casinos. And nearly 60 percent agree that casinos improve their local communities and their economies.

Mark Mellman, CEO of the Mellman Group, says the legalization of casinos across the country explains the increasingly positive response.

“Part of the reason has been the spread of casinos,” he told the RJ. “People see casinos and advertisements for casinos more and more. Casinos have become more commonly accepted.”

Freeman said that casinos have produced exactly what was expected, but to continue to benefit the jurisdictions where they are located, casinos must be treated fairly.

“What this survey shows us is that communities with casinos want them treated like any other businesses,” Freeman said. “In mature markets, casinos need to have the ability to reinvest and modernize. We’re in a highly competitive environment and we need a regulatory model that promotes efficiency and investment.”