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Las Vegas Casinos Cater to Growing Demand of Asian Customers
Casino owners all over the world, especially in the U.S., recognize the growing importance of their Asian customers. Just recently, casino organizations have become much more aggressive in attracting Asian customers in the country, as well as overseas Asian gamblers.
Casino operators are not only targeting the rich clients in China, they are also wooing Asian-Americans and immigrants from the Asian region. Some of these efforts by the casinos include remodeling extensive portions of their gaming floor to suit the taste of their Asian customers, advertising their casinos in Asian languages and advertising in community newspapers.
One leader in this trend has been Harrah's Entertainment Inc., which owns and manages about 2 dozen casinos in the United States, including Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
On June 13, 2007, Harrah's made history by making the first Asian gaming pit in the U.S. Harrah's bought imported carved woods from China to house their baccarat tables, which is the preferred game for most Asian players and for their several Pai Gow Poker tables, which is based on an ancient dominoes game from China.
The table game profits at Showboat improved by 35% last year, to $63 million, increasing from $46 million and the casino attracted more Asian customers.
Casino table games like Baccarat, Pai Gow, Craps, Blackjack and Roulette also improved their performance. The Showboat Casino also made their own version of an Asian gaming pit after Harrah's own Asian gaming pit became a huge hit with their customers.
Another casino to follow Harrah's example is the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, which also made their own Asian gaming pit in July 2006 and the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, which is currently building their own Asian gaming pit with a Chinese style food court.
The Las Vegas strip is also currently undergoing a similar change. Asian themed Baccarat rooms and noodle areas are now a normal feature in most casinos as the game generates larger profits compared to roulette or craps. As William P. Weidner, the President of Las Vegas Sands, said that the growing popularity of the game of Baccarat is due to the growing influence of the Asian customers on the strip.
According to Weidner, about 80% of the whales that come to Las Vegas are from the Asian continent. Most Baccarat players on the Las Vegas strip are from China and Hong Kong.
Aside from that, casino organizations are also opening casinos where there are high-rollers. Like the Sands and Wynn Resorts, which opened casinos in Macau. The Sands Casino is also looking to expand elsewhere in the region.
Kent Woo, the Executive Director of the NICOS Chinese Health Coalition in San Francisco, said that gambling has been an integral part of Asian culture for thousands of years.
People grew up with gambling in their homes and even participated in it during important celebrations in their lives. Nonetheless, he said that there is also a feeling that casinos are taking advantage of Asian culture. Critics are also worried about the increase of gambling addiction on the Asian population in the U.S. and other countries because of this ongoing trend.
Monday, June 25, 2007