The Casino Industry


The casino industry generates billions of dollars each year for corporations, investors and Native American tribes that own and operate them. While lighted fountains, music and elaborate themes attract visitors to the casino floor, games of chance like blackjack, roulette, poker, keno and craps are what bring in the money. Casinos offer a wide variety of gambling opportunities and can be found in everything from massive resorts to small card rooms. Some states have legalized casinos on riverboats or racetracks, and some bars, grocery stores and truck stops feature casino-type game machines.

Gambling is a popular form of entertainment and recreation worldwide. While it is generally agreed that most gambling activities are based on chance, skill is also important in some games. In addition to the classic table games such as blackjack and poker, many casinos have developed their own unique games. Some of these newer games are very addictive and have become a major source of revenue for casinos.

Casinos typically accept all bets within an established limit, so a patron cannot win more than the house can afford to pay. As a result, it is very rare for a casino to lose money on any given day. Because of this virtual assurance of gross profit, casinos frequently offer big bettors extravagant inducements in the form of free spectacular entertainment and transportation and luxurious living quarters. Lesser bettors are often offered reduced-fare transportation and hotel rooms.

Despite the glitz and glamour, the casino business is not without its dark side. Casinos are magnets for organized crime and have long attracted mob money, which has been used to finance renovations and expansions. Mafia figures often took sole or partial ownership of casinos, and they could influence game outcomes by threatening casino employees.

In the United States, casinos first appeared in Atlantic City in the 1970s and then spread throughout the country as states liberalized their gaming laws. They also began appearing on Native American reservations, which are exempt from state antigambling statutes. In the 1980s and ’90s, casinos also started opening in Puerto Rico and in several countries in South America.

The typical casino gambler is a woman over forty-six with an above average income from a household. According to a 2005 study by Roper Reports and the U.S. Gaming Panel, this demographic makes up about 23% of all casino visitors. In addition, a significant number of men and children also visit casinos.