There's new interest in an old(ish) study on the impact of fuel prices on gambling choices this week as the cost of filling a tank continues to climb, pressuring disposable income.
Back in late 2005 when fuel prices in the US soared to what was then considered unprecedented levels of over $3 a gallon, the Las Vegas market research company Precision Opinion conducted a controversial Southern Californian survey that suggested that up to half of gamblers would stop driving to Las Vegas once the gallon price of fuel topped $3.50.
Jim Medick of Precision Opinion postulated a direct relationship between rising gas prices and fewer trips, going on to extrapolate the result to a scenario where gas prices hit $4.33 a gallon, at which point 80 percent of drivers said they would stop driving to Las Vegas. And at $4.97 per gallon, that figure jumped another 10 percent to 90 percent.
About half of all drivers reaching their theoretical limits said they would turn to alternative means of transportation rather than cancel their gambling trips, leaving a still significant number of would-be gamblers who would forego visits to the gambling mecca on a regular basis.
The survey found that younger drivers in the 21 to 30 age group were more receptive to seeking alternative modes of transport than older drivers, and that those over age 60 were more vulnerable and sensitive to gas price increases.
Three years ago, few could have envisaged a scenario where the price of gas went over the $4 a gallon mark experienced these days, and although the "pain threshold" has probably gone up in tandem with recent increases, it could still be having an significant impact.
That begs the question of what it is today, and whether gamblers might turn increasingly to the Internet as a travel-free method of enjoying their gambling?
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