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A recently-released report by The Innovation Group has highlighted how casino player behaviors have changed in the US in the wake of COVID-19. 

The report, titled “Coronavirus Recovery Consumer Research Casino Gaming”, reveals that fewer players are attending casinos – but the quality of those still playing is higher. 

It has also been revealed that many players have said that they won’t return to a casino until there is a vaccine or other form of reliable treatment. 

Most casinos have also, in the eyes of patrons, adhered to safety regulations to the level that they were expected to. 

Stating the intention to show up isn’t the same as actually showing up 

The Innovation Group has released two reports looking at the impact of COVID-19 on casino player behaviors in the US. The first was revealed in May, as many states were slowly emerging out of their lockdowns. And now that a reasonable amount of time has passed, the second was released this month. 

Since casinos in the US were allowed to begin reopening just over two months ago, 17% of casino-goers have made an appearance. This is much lower than the 40% who said that they planned on doing so back in May. 

It also looks like casinos will have to face lower player numbers for a while. 35% of casino-goers say that they refuse to re-enter a venue until there is either a vaccine or other effective form of treatment available. 

One notable marketing campaign in recent weeks was MGM Resorts’ ‘Viva Las Office’, where they encouraged remote workers to spend a few nights at one of their hotels – where they would also be able to use the casinos. But in many cases, players appear to just be using the casino premises. 

Since returning to casinos, just over half (54%) of individuals have used an amenity not related to gaming on their most recent visit – such as a hotel, pool, or restaurant. For comparison, 88% used non-gaming amenities on their normal trip in 2019. 

Player attitudes elsewhere

Of those who have returned to casinos, the vast majority agreed that venues were doing enough in terms of safety measures. 89% feel as though the casinos they have entered had “an appropriate level of safety measures”, with the other 11% believing that the venues they went to needed to do more. 

There was an interesting regional split when it came to declining visits. Casino visit declines in the South only went down by 31%, which coincidentally was also where a higher number of people had more relaxed attitudes towards safety measures. There was a 46% drop in casino trips in the Midwest, along with 47% in the Northeast and 48% in the West. 

According to the report, cashless options are very much on the minds of players. 86% of respondents said that they were concerned about coronavirus being transmitted through the handling of cash at casinos. Meanwhile, 72% of participants said that they were either “somewhat likely” or “very likely” to use cashless options if they were made available. Another 66% said that if a casino offered such payment methods, they would be either “somewhat likely” or “very likely” to visit these venues. In general, higher-value customers and those who visited more frequently took a preference towards cashless payments at US casinos. 

The Innovation Group sought to make sure that both of its surveys included a broad range of ages, geographical locations, political affiliations, and both gaming budgets and casino visit frequencies.

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