The casino at Encore Boston Harbor has been a hot button topic of conversation for New England gamblers. Opening June 23, 2019 in Everett, MA, about 25 minutes from downtown Boston, Encore Boston Harbor is the newest attraction for those who like to place bets. The 2.6 billion dollar casino is placing pressure on other casinos in Massachusetts and the surrounding states, to the brightly lit, flower-adorned location.
While Massachusetts approved casino gaming eight years ago, Encore Boston Harbor is the first casino to open in the Boston area. Massachusetts approved casino gaming only eight years ago, but Encore Boston Harbor is all anyone can talk about in the Boston area. We were curious - who is actually visiting the Encore Boston Harbor, where are they from, and what else can we learn about them? We thought it would be interesting to conduct a and look at attendee trends at the casino over this past Labor Day weekend.
Location Intelligence Methodology
At Skyhook, our location network and partners provide us with access to massive amounts of anonymous, precise mobile device location data. This data allows us to generate valuable insights into the behaviors of anonymized mobile users as they move throughout their day.
For this analysis, Skyhook looked at mobile detection in the mapped out area of the Encore Boston Harbor Casino on August 30th - September 2nd, 2019.
Here are some highlights from our location analysis:
Most Popular Day :
Sunday saw the highest percentage of mobile devices detected in the casino. This was a holiday weekend so this may have had a skew effect on attendance. Sunday was closely followed by Saturday, then Monday. Friday had the lowest percentage of attendees.
As a casino, Encore Boston Harbor is living up to the reputation of being the place to go to for all-night fun and entertainment. In a city like Boston where most bars have last call between 1 and 2 AM on weekends, the 24 hour offering is particularly attractive . Attendees at the casino were active 24 hours a day. Attendance numbers began to rise around 3 PM, with a peak busy time of 9 PM.
Where They Visited From & Their Location Derived Demographics
Interestingly enough, attendees at the casino were mainly from the New England area, indicating that many may have seen a visit to the Encore Boston Harbor as good way to spend their Labor Day weekend without having to go too far. With 80% of attendees coming from Massachusetts, it begs the question - are all of these people regular gamblers, who will consistently continue to visit, or were they trying out gambling because of the Encore Boston Harbor’s proximity and draw? We see a very high concentration in Boston proper and the surrounding areas.
While the majority of visitors were from New England, Skyhook detected attendees from 41 different states in total.
- MA - 80%
- New England total - 90%
- Outside of New England - 10%
We found that visitors at the casino were also seen at the following Boston restaurants during the timeframe we analyzed:
- Whiskey's Smokehouse
- Envoy Lookout Rooftop and Bar
- Burger King
There was an interesting mixture of high end restaurants in the Boston proper area and fast food cuisine.
Where They Stayed & How They Traveled
Of those visitors traveling from outside of New England, 96% were also detected at Logan Airport. We saw them staying primarily at the following hotels:
- The Backpackers Hostel
- The Gryphon House
- Starwood Hotels
- Boston Marriott Long Wharf
- Double Tree Suites
- Marriott International
- Best Western
You could make varying assumptions based on these two groups of data:
- One group of casino visitors prefer high end luxury choices and the other group chose the opposite end of the price spectrum when spending money.
- People’s visits to fast food venues may have been a result of limited late night local dining options, as quick service restaurants are traditionally open later than more formal sit-down restaurants.
The lack of traffic at mid-price level restaurants offering casual dining was interesting to see. We saw two ends of the price spectrum when it came to attendee choices outside of the casino. This variety in the shopping and behavior patterns was echoed in their fitness club and brand choices as well (below).
As part of our analysis, we wanted to find out more about where the Encore Harbor Boston visitors went when they weren’t at the casino. At Skyhook, we have an extensive database of location intelligence. This information allows us to segment devices into ‘Personas’ based on behavior patterns. For example, if we see a Mobile Advertising ID visiting coffee shops multiple times each week, we will classify them as a ‘coffee drinker’.
These groupings allow us to compare data sets, like those of attendees at Encore Boston Harbor over Labor Day weekend, with our personas and build out a more robust analysis that extends beyond their foot traffic patterns that particular weekend. The graph below shows how the visitors at the casino compare to the overall Skyhook Index average. The Skyhook Index represents the normal distribution of consumer segments within the Skyhook data pool.
This analysis shows that the people visiting Encore are incredibly interested in fitness - our personas group them as above average interest levels in fitness. They regularly visit gyms and other athletic venues. They place healthy living as a high priority and may actively seek out wellness products and lifestyle content. Their gym choices echo their restaurant and hotel choices - they are skewed between the high-cost ‘luxury’ fitness options, and the more budget friendly choices.
Core Power Yoga
Sports Clubs Network
Dicks Sporting Goods
Parent and Student Gambling Habits
In addition to being a long weekend for a lot of people, Labor Day weekend is also move-in weekend for many of the Boston-based universities and colleges. This would likely indicate that there would be an influx of students and parents in the Boston area - but are they visiting the casino while they’re here, and is it now considered one of Boston’s tourist attractions?
When looking at the data, we looked for detection at three Boston schools - Harvard, MIT, and Boston University. This indicated to us that these people were likely student, parents, or school employees. Many of the people who had just been detected that weekend in that location, had been also detected on Amtrak, Logan International Airport, or car rental spots.
We assumed that the majority of people we saw were parents and students. We checked logs for the following weekend, and assumed that people who were in schools only on that previous weekend were parents and those who we saw at the schools again later that week were students. (Note: There may be overlap with school employees.)
Students - those detected in the schools after the long weekend
Parents - those who were no longer seen at the schools after the long weekend
Harvard: Of those detected at Harvard, and at the casino:
- Parents: 55%
- Students: 44%
MIT: Of those detected at MIT, and at the casino:
- Parents: 62%
- Students: 37%
Boston University: Of those detected at Boston University, and at the casino:
- Parents: 71%
- Students: 29%
We found that 14.6% of people who we saw visit the casino that weekend, we also saw one those three campuses. From this selection of data, we observed that Harvard students were seen at Encore Boston Harbor in the highest numbers. At MIT and Boston University, parents were seen at the casino more than their children.
What Can This Data Tell Us?
The high numbers of Massachusetts visitors detected could be a sign that Encore is drawing Massachusetts gamblers away from neighboring states with casinos they used to visit, with less of an immediate draw for tourists. The attendance numbers from neighboring states could indicate that for those from Connecticut, the casino isn’t enough of a draw for them to leave their own casinos. It is an attraction for parents or students moving into the city.
While this analysis is focused on one weekend, it provides a look at the people who are visiting casinos and are interested in gambling. Their other purchase options and interests can inform casinos about potential partnerships that would be mutually beneficial.
Skyhook’s Geospatial Insights offering has the ability to run these types of anonymized analyses across venues, industries, data sets, and more. Location insights provide the keys to unlocking in-depth understanding of consumers’ behaviors and preferences. In addition to this type of data analysis, Geospatial Insights allows you to monitor competitor performance, analyze site selection, learn about customer offline behavior and much more.
If you’re interested finding out how Geospatial Insights makes it easier to apply location data analysis to business intelligence, we’d be happy to help.