The results of a recent study by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Center for Policy Analysis were published earlier this year. They discovered a quickly growing trend at some casinos where 20% of visitors were not gambling at all. Principally, those 20% were looking for dining and entertainment options. They further realized that most of those 20% were locals.
This makes sense since we know that the number of new casinos built during the past ten years has increased dramatically and means that fewer people are travelling long distances to visit casinos. Therefore, locals visiting a casino, as a percentage of total visits, have gone up, and this creates expectations that the local casino become a more active member in community events.
Using dining as an example, it means that a property’s restaurants are being seen as direct competition for local eateries. The casino’s dining facilities are not there just for gaming patrons, they are competing with regional establishments so your casino is being considered a part of the community also.
What can you do? There is a strong trend across Canada for restaurants to source more of their fare locally, supporting local farmers, wineries, bakeries, and producers of specialty packaged foods. Farmers’ markets are popping up in cities in surprising numbers. And it’s not just the public demanding fresher produce; it’s also a strong desire to support local producers. When communities shift in this direction, it is incumbent upon your casino to look at the opportunity to grow your restaurant offerings, support your surrounding communities, and by all means promote your actions within the casino.