DEMOGRAPHIC CHECK: BETTER FOR THE REGIONALS

An age group analysis of the core casino customer yields a generally favorable intermediate outlook for gaming companies. Demographics certainly appear more favorable than other consumer sectors that skew to a younger age group such as casual dining (see Penney) and apparel (see McGough). Per the Harrah's Annual Gaming Survey, overall casino participation peaks in the 51-56 year old age group. However, Las Vegas actually trends younger than the regional gaming markets. This works to the advantage of the regionals as the 56-60 year old group will grow faster than the 46-50 year old segment over the next few years.
  • In looking at the core regional age group of 51-60, population growth accelerates in 2009-2011 and stays positive until 2018. These demographics should be viewed positively at least over the next several years although population growth in this segment will trail the 1 period. The outlook for the core Las Vegas gaming group customer is not as rosy. Growth in population here began decelerating in 2007 and that trend will continue, culminating in negative growth beginning in 2013.
  • I've written about the attractive regional free cash yields, the statistical significance of rising Las Vegas airfares in boosting regional gaming revenues, and the looming margin pressure in Las Vegas from falling room rates. Demographics appear to be one more reason to favor the regional over Las Vegas.

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