Is There A Secret Sauce In The Microsoft Attention Span Study That Will Continue To Nourish Las Vegas Locals Casinos?


  • In 2015, Microsoft studied the human attention span and found it shrinking below the levels of goldfish.
  • Clear conclusion: Older people can sustain attention at repetitive tasks or leisure activities longer than the young.
  • That's good news for Las Vegas locals casinos, especially Boyd Gaming's savvy management.

"Information consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention." -- Herbert Simon, Nobel Economist, 1978

In 2015, Microsoft conducted a study, primarily for its advertisers, to track the trends in human attention span. Their objective was to impart guidance to online advertisers on how to best optimize their messages against a powerful trend of shrinking attention spans. The research was Canada-based but held many lessons for U.S. marketers nonetheless. The 54-page study, however, boiled down a few hard truths about 21 st century customers. So what did it have to do with the prospects for Las Vegas locals casinos and the public companies that owned them?

A few highlights of the study first.

Microsoft assembled a team of researchers, neurologists and psychologists to extract the data with a methodology that was tightly focused on the trends. Here's what they learned: The average human attention span in the year 2000 was 12 seconds. By 2013 it had shrunk to 8 seconds, one second less than the 9-second attention span of a goldfish. This startling comparison made headlines around the world-though nobody was surprised.

They broke attention down into three basic types:

a) Sustained attention is the capacity to maintain prolonged focus during repetitive activity. The highest percentage of the sample age groups with this level of patience were people 55 and older, at 35%. Much more dramatic was the spread between behavior patterns. While 77% of the sample group aged 18-24 said they reached for their phones when bored, that percentage plunged to 10% for people 65 and older. Over 52% of the younger group said they checked their smartphones on the average of every 30 minutes while only 6% of the folks over 65 checked their phones that often. While 79% of the young sample used other devices while watching TV, the percentage using other devices

This article was written by

Howard Jay Klein profile picture
Leader of The House Edge
The single go-to source for gaming and sports betting stocks on SA
I am Howard Klein, Publisher and Publisher of THE HOUSE EDGE casino investment site on SA. Tip Ranks ranks me as 68 out of all 10,000 global gaming/leisure analysts, and my success rate is 77% with a 20% average return.

For 30 years I held senior vp and exec VP positions in major casino hotel operations among them Caesars, Ballys, Trump Taj Mahal and have done extensive consulting assignments for many others in the US, including the native American property Mohegan Sun, in Connecticut. I have also done special projects for Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. I was the founder and publisher of Gaming Business Magazine, first ever publication covering the gaming industry and have written extensively about the industry.

My two books are presently sold as Kindle ebooks on the Amazon site: MASTERING THE ART OF CASINO MANAGEMENT and THE GREAT AMERICAN CASINO BAZAAR. I have appeared on industry seminar panels and on national radio and television discussing various aspects of industry growth. I am a graduate of NYU's Stern School of Business and did work toward a Master's degree in economics at the Columbia School of General Studies.

MY INVESTMENT STRATEGY: Due to the necessities of my casino consulting business which encompasses many top gaming companies, I have placed my own gaming portfolio into a blind trust over ten years ago. At that time I instructed my money manager(who is a former industry colleague herself as well as a corporate lawyer and money manager) to follow my gaming investment strategy along these lines. 

1. I am a value investor first. Knowing the industry in depth I am able to plumb opportunities and problems others cannot see. Mostly I like to identify price ranges over given periods where I believe the market is asleep and I can buy in at the lowest possible risk. 2. I am a strong believer in management quality. Knowing so many top people in the industry allows me to evaluate which ones I believe have the "right stuff" to move a stock and which are populated by corporate drones. 3. I have instructed my manager never to trade on sugar high spikes in earnings or news per se but use the "string theory" I have developed which in brief, follows a skein of news and earnings releases over set periods of time for each stock and then move in or out. 4. I have instructed her to keep the portfolio diverse with holdings in four basic areas: Casino stocks in Las Vegas, Macau and the regionals, gaming tech stocks with real moats not just cute apps. 
I am pleased to announce that as of September 1, 2022 I am expanding my coverage to include entertainment stocks, a sector undergoing a massive revolution on many fronts. This has sprung loose many investment ideas in the space I expect to share with members. The coverage is added at no extra cost. 
I have been involved in the entertainment sector as well for decades involved in overseeing show and events in my properties as well as independent productions. I currently sit on the board of privately held Atlas Media Corporation, one of America;s premium non-fiction producers of tv and film programming.

Overall I have done immensely well and share my views with SA readers and more specifically with strong recommendations and gaming stock strategy analysis based on my network of industry contacts for subscribers to my SA Premium Site: THE HOUSE EDGE.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Recommended For You

Comments (7)

To ensure this doesn’t happen in the future, please enable Javascript and cookies in your browser.
Is this happening to you frequently? Please report it on our feedback forum.
If you have an ad-blocker enabled you may be blocked from proceeding. Please disable your ad-blocker and refresh.