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Las Vegas, Nevada, a city, that is just over 100-years old, bears testimony to the unbreakable relationship between casinos and tourism. The city gets more than 40 million tourists in a year. This is not to say that there are no other tourist attractions in the city! But, let’s be honest, didn’t you think about casinos when we started talking of Las Vegas? Only a few of the world’s population would not have heard of the city and only a minuscule population of foreign travelers would not have the city on their itinerary.
The city is famous globally for both its casinos and adult entertainment. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that it is the casino games alone that attract tourists. The interior, ambiance, and aura created around the casinos together encourage tourists to spend a considerable amount of time and money.
The truth is that when tourists flock to a destination, several other industries get a lifeline. Las Vegas welcomed 42.12 million tourists in the year 2018 alone. These tourists spent more than $35.5 billion on hospitality, gaming, and entertainment.
So, how do tourists affect a country’s economy? Let us have a look:
GDP: Are you aware that 4% of Monaco’s GDP is attributed to the casino industry? Since it is illegal for the residents to gamble, it is casino tourism that directly impacts the revenue earned by the country. Additionally, more than 10% of the Australian revenue is from gambling! More than 17% of the visitors to Australia are Chinese, and one million of them travel to the Southern hemisphere to indulge in casino gaming! That is a huge boost to the overall economy, and Australian casinos are now hiring staff who can speak Mandarin to cater to the visitors.
Hotels: When a foreigner travels to a city or country, they need a place to sleep. It is unsurprising that where there are casinos, there are going to be hotels. Realising the need to cater to people from different strata, you can expect flea-bag motels to five-star hotels. But, what has caught the fancy of all is casino resorts! Altogether, the ancillary development and employment opportunities created by the casino visitors see countries creating gaming-friendly policies.
Fine dining: Travellers with the time and money to spend are indulging not only in their love for the casinos but also exploring newer food tastes. Would it shock you to know that every established chef aspires for a restaurant in the city? Top chefs including Gordon Ramsey to Nobu have a restaurant there! But tourists can be sure of getting sumptuous buffets and unique dining experiences when they are traveling to cities and countries dominated by casinos.
Employment: The biggest casino tourism destination in the world, the USA has a gambling or casino industry worth more than $240 billion, offering employment to 2 million individuals. Cambodia’s Sihanoukville was initially only a small town, famous for fishing. It was earlier a familiar spot only for travelers and backpackers. However, with so many casinos opening up, it is slowly becoming a worldwide tourist destination, creating employment opportunities not only for the locals but also foreigners! In the first half of 2018, Sihanoukville saw 1.3 million tourists, out of which 290,782 were foreign tourists, 1 million were local visitors and 84,664 were from China.
The changing face of casino tourism!
While all the above figures are impressive, the rise of the online casino industry is seeing a slow and steady decline in the number of people traveling to faraway lands. We have used Las Vegas as the prime example of casino tourism, but, the city saw a drop of nearly 2 million tourists from 2016 to 2018. These figures may point to the opening of other casino destinations, but the stats prove otherwise.
According to the website casino.org, while the gambling business stood at USD 400 billion at the end of 2016, the online gambling industry was at USD 50 billion. Statista states that the online gambling industry is growing at a CAGR of nearly 9% per annum. As online gaming is gaining popularity and famous casino games are now available on the smartphone, all a tourist needs to do is log on to a casino site and start playing.
Let us end with a word of caution: it is imperative to do your research and read reviews of different games and casinos to know which ones you can trust!