Online gambling has been one of radio’s biggest growth ad categories during the past year as legalized gaming spreads coast to coast. But what about old fashioned seat at the craps table or slot machine wagering? The pandemic reopening has helped jumpstart in-person casino visits, and that has also delivered a winning hand, so to speak, to radio.
Media Monitors says radio was the “clear winner” for the top ten casino advertisers during the first five months of the year. It says 144,229 spots ran on radio stations it tracks between Jan. 1 and May 31. That’s more than twice as many instances they ran on broadcast television (69,843) and nearly three times the number of spots they aired on local cable (49,329).
Casinos aren’t just capitalizing on Americans' cravings for in-person entertainment, helping get people in the doors. With an expected spike in weddings and conferences thanks to travel restrictions lifted and pandemic guidelines eased, Media Monitors’ analysis shows casinos are bringing more tourists and business travelers to their resorts and hotels. International flights are at their highest levels in over two years, and Nevada casinos logged record-setting winnings this past April. Last week’s news that COVID tests will no longer be required to enter the U.S. should only help.
“Casinos are rebounding and maybe in a big way,” said Media Monitors CEO Philippe Generali. “Like other service industries, the last couple of years have been tough for the gambling and resort industries. But demand is increasing, and more people are booking trips and looking to play and enjoy the dining and shows.”
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL topped the radio rankings, airing 22,644 instances over the five-month period. Morongo Casino Resort and Spa in Cabazon, CA was a close second with 21,542 spots, followed by the Yaamava’ Resort and Casino at San Manuel in Highland, CA, which aired 18,809 spots.
On broadcast television, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino was also No. 1 while it ranked second on local cable according to Media Monitors data.
“Casino advertisers find they’re able to reach their prime audience on radio, making it a great play for them,” said Generali. “At the same time, this thriving industry is a good bet for media executives and program managers looking to expand sales opportunities.”
The coming summer months will be a test of wills for consumers and casinos alike. The urge to leave the house after a two-year pandemic lifestyle is a strong pull for many. But higher gas prices could keep some people at home. Yet those same gas prices may also work in casinos’ favor by keeping Americans from jetting off with a high-priced airplane ticket to a far-off destination and instead convincing them to hop in the car for a nearby casino experience.