Business

Casinos draw 60 million in 2011; not all gamblers

LOS ANGELES — More than a quarter of adult Americans — that's nearly 60 million people — went to commercial casinos in 2011, according to the American Gaming Association. And a quarter of those folks don't even gamble.

It's partly by focusing on other attractions, including nightclubs, fine dining, galleries, roller coasters and performers such as Celine Dion, that the country's gambling halls are seeing an uptick in revenue.

The 492 non-tribal casinos in the United States took in $35.6 billion in revenue last year, a 3 percent improvement from 2010. They employed 339,000 people — a dip of less than half a percent from the previous year. But those workers' pay fell 3 percent, to $12.9 billion in wages, benefits and tips.

Las Vegas remained the U.S. epicenter for casinos, making more than $6 billion. Statewide, Nevada's gambling revenue increased 2.9 percent, with a boost of more than a million visitors compared with the previous year. A January report from the state's Gaming Control Board, however, showed that Nevada's largest casinos still suffered a $4 billion loss in 2011.

Atlantic City, whose $3.3 billion in revenue was a 7 percent slide, was displaced by the scattered Pennsylvania market as the second largest in the United States, according to the American Gaming Association report.

After federal authorities shut down three of the Internet's most popular gambling sites in April 2011, many players began filtering into brick-and-mortar casinos to get their fix. Visitors nationwide last year spent more at casinos than they did on music, movies and outdoor equipment combined, according to the report.

The favored form of gambling, according to more than half of respondents, are slot machines and video poker.

Nearly a quarter of survey respondents said they prefer playing blackjack; 7 percent said poker was tops, while 3 percent named craps and roulette as their gambling picks. Roughly half budget less than $100 when trying their hands at the tables.

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