Betting Spy

Holiday Casinos

It's that time of year again, when our thoughts turn towards holiday giving and treats for those we love. And the people we love tend to love the very activities that we love. That is, they love to go to casinos! And they love information about their favorite pastime - gambling in the casinos. According to the latest gambling census figures compiled by Harrah's, there are 1.5 million casino gamblers in Tennessee and Mississippi. More than one-fourth of the adult population of these two states will go to the casinos, usually Tunica or Gulfport. However, there are 51.1 million casino gamblers in the entire United States so our locale makes up just 3 percent of the nation's total. The Harrah's survey, A Night in the Life of a Casino Gambler, reveals just what the tastes and predilections of our fellow gamblers are. Of course, eating comes first in the survey because a sated gambler is a satisfied gambler. Fully 57 percent of us prefer the buffet as our dining choice; while 16 percent prefer steakhouses, 10 percent go for seafood, and 9 percent prefer eating in 24-hour cafes. Most buffet eaters will make two or three trips to the buffet lines to "sample" the cuisine.

Half the people who stay at casino-hotels will wake up between 7AM and 8AM but 4 percent never go to bed. Fifty-three percent of us like to stay in high hotel rooms and 9 percent of us like it stay near the pools. The three favored non-gambling activities are shows (28 percent), dining (27 percent) and people-watching (23 percent). The number one favorite song that captures the casino experience was Memphis's own Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas" (34 percent) followed by Lionel Richie's "All Night Long" and Cool and the Gang's "Celebrate," each with 24 percent. It's no secret that the machines were the favorite form of gambling as a staggering 74 percent of casino gamblers, or approximately 37.8 million, played them. Over half the machine players prefer 25- to 50-cent machines, while 9 percent play one to four dollars a spin, but only 1 percent of the machine lovers go for $5 or more a pop. Thirty-seven percent of the slot players describe themselves as "grazers" who try a variety of machines when they play; 33 percent tend to play one to three favorite machines, and 22 percent stay put on one single machine.

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