Chinese Millennials Love Vegas – Just Not for Gambling

One hot topic in the gambling world has been American millennials’ reluctance to gamble in casinos. And it turns out that Chinese millennials are much the same, visiting Las Vegas for everything except its casino games.

A 2015 report by Goldman Sachs claims that by 2025, travel-ready Chinese millennials will grow to 74 million, with each spending $14,000 on annual travel. And the good news for Vegas is that these same millennials see Sin City as the best American vacation destination.

But according to YogoNet, this segment isn’t going to Vegas for slot machines or baccarat.

“Gambling is just an experience to me, not my goal of coming here,” said Xin Long, who spent just US$80 gambling during his Vegas trip. “I don’t want to waste my money on it, as there are so many interesting things to do in Las Vegas.”

Yilun Dai, a 27-year-old Chinese man who works in Shanghai’s financial industry, expressed the same opinion.

“I am just testing how lucky I am. I will not spend too much money. I don’t count on it to gain wealth,” said Yilun.

This is just the latest sign that Vegas casinos can expect their gambling profits to continue shrinking. While overall gambling revenue has increased since recession levels, the amount still hasn’t recovered to pre-recession levels. Nevada Resort Association stats show that gambling made up just 34.9% of casino revenue last year, compared to 41% in 2007.

More people these days are spending money in restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping malls instead of on slot machines.

Another study from Hotels.com shows that dining, sightseeing, and shopping are the three most-popular Vegas activities among Chinese visitors. The same survey showed that just 2% of travelers saw gambling as their primary objective.

Experts believe that the big demand for shopping will continue among Chinese travelers, despite the fact that Yuan Renminbi (Chinese currency) has depreciated against the dollar by more than 5% this year. One reason why is because American luxury items like Coach purses can still be purchased for much cheaper at a Vegas outlet store than in China.

Neither Hotels.com nor Goldman Sachs specify why Chinese millennials can afford American luxury items and Vegas trips with such ease. But YogoNet suggests that it’s because, unlike American millennials, the Chinese aren’t saddled by significant student debt and can afford to travel and buy expensive items.