A recent white paper from Placer.ai, a location analytics company specializing in visitation trends, indicates that U.S. casino visitation was up in 2021 and 2022 compared to 2020, but still lagged behind the numbers achieved in 2019. Possible reasons include the rise of online poker, online sports betting, and the continued slump in domestic air travel. Casinos have seen slower post-pandemic recovery compared to other out-of-home entertainment categories such as bowling centers, Topgolf, and “eatertainment” facilities such as Dave & Buster’s and Main Event.
The report highlights two casinos that have managed to buck this trend by investing in new amenities.
- The Island Resort & Casino in Harris, MI, added a waterpark in late 2021. This led to an increase in total visitation in 2022, particularly during the afternoons, and particularly from young families.
- Bally’s Kansas City completed an expansion that added new restaurants, bars, and other amenities to create a more social environment. Monthly visitation then increased in every month in 2022 versus 2019, with this trend continuing into the first months of 2023.
Based on these numbers, it appears that casinos that have invested in new, non-gaming amenities are outperforming the U.S. casino industry as a whole. These types of large-scale investments help to secure a casino’s competitive position within a regional gaming market and attract visitors that might not have otherwise chosen to visit a casino.