Beyond hardcore gambling: Understanding why mainland Chinese visit casinos in Macau

Abstract

Casinos are important travel attractions, but they are often overshadowed by hardcore gambling behaviors. Although gambling has been found as a key tourism driver, it is unclear how casinos, as hospitality service providers, are able to fulfill other travel needs. This article highlights an emerging but under studied phenomenon in tourism and hospitality research: casino tourism. Based on empirical data collected in the world gaming capital, Macau, the results reveal that tourists' casino excursions are primarily motivated by five factors: entertainment and novelty seeking, leisure activity, escape from pressure, casino sightseeing, and socialization. The findings suggest that although gambling is part of the casino experience tourists seek, mainland Chinese tourists are looking for assorted travel and leisure experiences. These experiences can further be classified into two segments: entertainment-for-socialization seekers and sightseeing-for-relaxation seekers. Demographic differences in addition to two- and three-way interactions of the motivational factors are also discussed.

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