Las Vegas casinos used to feast on Asian gamblers. Often, these were the “whales” – otherwise known as high rollers – that the casinos would rely upon to rack up huge profits from their casino operations.
The popularity of casino games is huge. People love playing online and they also love the atmosphere of a casino. This has always been a hallmark of the Asian culture, and Chinese tourists were becoming a huge growth opportunity for the Vegas casinos.
But all of that is changing due to two very powerful forces. One was the financial crisis which decimated the Vegas casinos. Everyone was affected, including Chinese tourists. Now the crowds are coming back to Vegas, but there is still a problem as there are fewer Asian high rollers.
And that’s due to the second factor – the emergence of Macau in China as a gambling destination. The casinos there are bigger than those in Vegas and the gambling volume has surpassed Las Vegas. Chinese whales now can stay on their own continent and get the same kind of thrill from progressive jackpot slots or hours of blackjack. They don’t have to look to Vegas as the best option.
This trend is having a huge impact on Chinese tourism, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.