Las Vegas Gambler Budget Survey Signals Higher Visitor Spending

The average gambling budget of Las Vegas visitors rose 10 percent to $530 last year, the biggest increase since 2005, according to a study released yesterday by the city’s convention and visitors authority.

The survey, based on interviews with 3,600 guests over the course of the year, tracked average budgets rather than actual spending, according to Kevin Bagger, the authority’s senior director of strategic research and analytics. The results show people are more willing to gamble, he said.

“We look at the gaming budget more as a psychological indicator of visitor mindset,” Bagger said in an e-mail. “It does reflect a positive trend of attracting visitors setting aside growing budgets for the gaming part of their Vegas experience.”

Casinos nationally have struggled since the 2008 financial crisis crimped consumer spending. Gambling revenue in the U.S. rose 3.5 percent to $38.5 billion last year, for the first time surpassing the $37.5 billion peak in 2007, according to Bloomberg Industries research. Gains in Nevada offset declines in the Midwest and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Properties on the Las Vegas Strip have outperformed other markets. Gambling revenue there rose 4.8 percent to $6.5 billion last year, as the city welcomed almost 40 million visitors, just shy of the 2012 record, according to the authority.

The average gambler budget number remains below the $652 level of 2006.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.