[Dixielandjazz] Atlantic City Casinos Drawing More Than Just Seniors

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Dec 29 19:49:22 PST 2005

That was the intriguing headline of an article appearing this week in
newspapers across the USA. Here are some excerpts from that article that
might interest OKOM festival producers, as well as OKOM band leaders.

start snip - -

By John Curran - Associated Press Writer : Dateline Atlantic City

"LL Cool J was playing the House of Blues. A few blocks away, rapper Jay-Zs
new nightclub was rocking. Fredericka Jones, 42, out on the town for a
Friday night with her girl friends was determined to hit both, then try her
luck at a casino."  (My Note-Probably The Showboat where House of Blues is.)

"She used to make the one-hour trip from her Philadelphia home once every
couple of years. Now she goes several times a year. And she has noticed some
changes. The crowd is getting younger. You don't see the older crowd as
much, the grandparents. Now you see the younger people."

"Rejuvenated by a saucy new casino, trendy clubs and beach bars, AND A
VIBRANT MUSIC SCENE, (emphasis mine) Atlantic City is evolving into a
nightlife hotspot for people in their 20's, 30's and 40's who once saw it as
one big neon-lit retirement home for senior citizens who arrive by the
busload to play the slot machines."

Etc., etc., etc. ..."it booked contemporary stars into its showrooms instead
of aging crooners and nostalgia acts" . . ."it also bet that blackjack,
roulette and craps . . . could bring in more business than slot machines".
. . . table games are fun . . . people are going to casinos and finding out
that, hey, its fun to be around real people."

end snip - -

What has occurred since early 2004 is that AC has lowered the average age of
its customers. Some casinos who track such demographics report that the
average age of gamblers there has dropped markedly. In 2005 60% of the
gamblers are under age 50. In 2004 only 39% of the gamblers were below age
50. The profits are also way up.

Bus trips per year to AC from nearby cities have dropped by 3.5 million to
6.6 million since 1998 while car trips have increased by about the same
amount to 25.8 million. More people are staying over for a day or two. There
is also a direct train from Philadelphia now.

Most gamblers have an electronic card, like an ATM card which enables them
to gamble without throwing real money around. This ATM card in addition to
your credit limit, has all your personal data on it so the casinos know
exactly who is gambling, as well as how much they spend.

The median age of all visitors to Atlantic City has also dropped from 55 in
1998 to 52 last year and perhaps 50 this year.

The Visitors and Convention Bureau says its because there is more to do now.
Nightclubs, name brand restaurants, sexy, fun places to go.

Having been playing at the Showboat for almost a year now, it is easy to see
the change. We see more kids (under 50). and because the House of Blues,
which opened there in late June, draws a young crowd, we get to play OKOM in
front of them. They LOVE it, dance to it, mug with us etc. Showboat
marketing people are not fools, they have two New Orleans jazz Bands and
three jazz duos/trios working regularly. Not because we appeal to the old
folks, but because we appeal to the young.

Replenishing the customer base is what its all about in business. OKOM
festivals need to do it and so do OKOM bands.


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