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American Gaming Association



August 17, 2012

By Sharon Harris-Zlotnick

Wild Horse Pass Casino, Phoenix

Did you ever watch the people at a casino? Gamblers obviously gamble, but what about the 27% of casino customers who don’t? According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), more than one-quarter of casino customers never gambled during their visit in 2011. If not to gamble, why come at all?

Ironically, the AGA also revealed that another 27% of American adults-59.7 million people-did gamble in casinos in 2011. Of those players, 76% also ate at the casino’s fine dining restaurant. Approximately 70% of the non-gamblers claimed that dining is a favorite activity when patronizing a casino. So, millions choose to dine at casinos every day of the year. Local restaurants also benefitted since 62% also ate in casino neighborhoods.

What is the obvious conclusion? Casinos with excellent dining choices earn more and attract more customers.
Casino restaurants fall into three categories:

• Properties operating their own individual or corporate-linked outlets.
• Venues outsourcing restaurant operations to national or local celebrity chefs.
• Casinos using outside restaurant management companies.

Smart operators must clearly understand the pros and cons to develop a strategy. David Rittvo, the food & beverage division director of The Innovation Group, a New Orleans-based consultant and management services provider for the food and beverage industries, cautions that a positive relationship depends on the management and chef carefully negotiating the “comp” programs levels to sustain adequate control and pricing on both sides.

“Prospective celebrity chefs should question if the foot traffic will positively increase Continue Reading…