Nevada casinos seek gamblers from India

welcome-to-vegasNevada casinos are pushing to make India a major source of tourist arrivals.

The Nevada Division of Tourism says India is currently in the top-10 countries from which Vegas visitors descend but the state is determined to elevate India into the top-five. Nevada began a similar push to attract Chinese travelers a dozen years ago, and China has since attained the desired top-five status.

The state welcomed 63k tourists from India in 2014, 33% more than the previous year. That’s around 10% of the Indians who visit the US each year. An estimated 50m Indian citizens currently hold passports.

Nevada opened a representative office in India last October and Division of Tourism chairman Mark Hutchinson – who’s also the state’s Lt. Governor – is currently in New Delhi to attend the SATTE 2016 travel trade show.

Hutchinson said the state intends to beef up its marketing team in Delhi and Mumbai in order to convince more Indians to consider Nevada as a desirable destination. Hutchinson told IANS that the state was “ready to help Indians with everything when they visit Nevada.”

Las Vegas has diversified its entertainment portfolio beyond gambling to the point where gaming’s share of overall revenue on the Strip hit a record low 35% last year. That said, gambling remains a powerful draw for a country like India, which has only a few local casino options confined to just three states.

The world’s other great gambling hub, Macau, has also targeted India’s 1.3b residents. Macau, which enjoys much closer proximity to India, has already managed to attract a significant volume of Indian visitors. In 2014, the Macau Government Tourist Office said 1.67m Indians made the trek to Macau, many of them utilizing the special administrative region’s easy “on-arrival-visa” policy.