Tourism is a critical part of the economy, and the hospitality industry plays a vital role in its success. Great hospitality gives people reasons to visit other parts of the country or even the world. At the same time, the hospitality industry generates revenue and much-needed jobs. Casino hotels (a casino and hotel in one exciting venue) have an important function in this equation, as they provide services beyond what players can experience in online casino games. Such resort-based hotels incorporate casino table games, iconic destinations, fine dining and world-class entertainment to help keep customers coming back for more. This challenges casino hotels to keep raising their hospitality game, resulting in a continuous win-win cycle of improvement. Read on for further insight into how casinos and hospitality work hand in hand. But why are casino hotels so good at attracting visitors in the first place?
How Casino Hotels Boost Tourism
Top-quality casino destinations are a big tourism drawcard, there’s no doubt. For a prime example of this, look no further than Las Vegas. Driven by iconic casino hotels including the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, casino tourism transformed Vegas from a one-horse town surrounded by the barren Nevada desert to the top gambling tourism destination in the world. It helped that gambling was legal in Nevada at a time when it was banned in other states. Today, Vegas is still the biggest gambling tourism drawcard in the U.S. More than 40 million happy-go-lucky visitors flock to the Strip every year in search of the entertainment provided by casino slot games and casino table games.
However, Las Vegas isn’t the only city in the U.S. with a gambling scene that draws in travelers. Between the world-renown of Vegas and the growing popularity of casinos in West Virginia, Reno, and Atlantic City (to name a few,) it’s no surprise that America is known as one of the best countries for casino tourism in the world. Despite the successful casino tourism industries throughout the country, it is still important to note that not all states have legalized casino gambling. Kentucky, a state known for its hospitality, is just one example of a state where traditional casino gambling is not legal. The state is taking a step forward with its recent legislative changes that legalize sports betting, which is to be effective from Sept. 2023.
Hospitality Studies Keep Casino Customers Content
Not everyone who visits Vegas goes there to gamble, of course, and even die-hard casino-floor stalwarts won’t want to just sit at the slots or tables, playing casino games all day and night. Complimentary entertainment at the core of the hospitality offering — such as music and variety shows — has to be top-notch, while the accommodation has to be immaculate. Failure to maintain these standards risks losing customers to other destinations, especially as gambling opens up across America. The need to continually improve hospitality service levels led the University of Nevada to open the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, based in Las Vegas. It ranks as one of the top two college hospitality programs in the U.S., with more than 30 of its textbooks used in similar programs worldwide.
Driving Excellence: Casino and Hospitality Studies
The college is rated so highly because Vegas’s 150,000-plus hotel rooms provide a living laboratory for hospitality studies. Subjects studied include hotel administration, culinary arts and beverage management, service, lodging and resort management, recreation, professional golf management, meetings and events management, and sports and leisure services. The university’s Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming also offers a Gaming Management Minor. This interdisciplinary course seeks to improve professionalism and training standards for all students seeking to enter the casino and gaming industry. This involves gaining practical experience in all aspects of industry, from casino table games to online poker and online slots. The combination of hospitality and casino studies helps secure the future of both industries by continuously improving standards across the board.
VIP Casinos and Their Impact on Tourism
The need for high standards of professionalism in hospitality and gaming isn’t confined to Nevada. Casino tourism has become a big business worldwide, and the hospitality industry has to keep pace with the changing needs of tourists in search of top casino games. Macau is a case in point. Ever since the Hotel Lisboa opened its doors in 1970, this autonomous enclave of China has focused on casino tourism and has become the world’s biggest gambling hub by revenue. But Macau’s initial strategy was to market a VIP casino gaming experience.
This VIP casino tourism strategy succeeded because China’s high-rollers couldn’t gamble legally anywhere else except Macau. Golden member privileges, private gambling rooms, elite amenities and other services allowed Macau to bring in so many rich tourists that they made up 66% of casino profits in 2013. Then, in 2014, Xi Jinping’s government tightened up the gambling regulations, which frightened off many of the country’s gambling VIPs. The industry had to roll with the punches and change its strategy to target the mass market.
This helped diversify Macau’s tourism offering with hotels, restaurants and entertainment that were more suitable for lower budgets. The broader approach allowed Macau’s hospitality industry to stabilize and hold its ground. Now, casino operators have been hit by a new wave of gaming restrictions, but the jury’s still out on what effect that will have on Macau’s status as a gambling hub.
The Knock-On Effect of Casino Tourism
A number of China’s high-rollers were unhappy with the 2014 restrictions, so they started searching for other places to gamble instead. The first place they looked was Australia. Massive investment in casino developments and high-level hospitality training levels meant that Australia’s casino hotels could more than hold their own. To date, Australian casinos have attracted about one million big-spending Chinese VIPs, out of a casino tourist base of approximately 10 million. Meanwhile, smaller countries in Asia have followed suit, with Cambodia, the Philippines and Singapore all boosting their revenues through casino tourism. One destination resort that stands out is Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Casino, which boasts 700 gaming tables and 2,500 casino slot games.
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