The Casino Industry is a Major Source of Local Government Revenue


A casino is a place where a variety of games of chance can be played and gambling is the primary activity. It may be equipped with restaurants, musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate hotels, but these are merely additions to the core gambling facilities. It is the games of chance—blackjack, roulette, keno, craps and slot machines—that bring in billions in profits to casinos each year.

When casinos were first built, they primarily attracted wealthy Europeans, including royalty and aristocracy. But they also attracted organized crime gangsters. With their extortion, loan sharking and other illicit income, the mobsters had plenty of money to invest in casinos. But because of the mob’s tainted reputation, legitimate businessmen were reluctant to get involved in casinos. That changed when real estate investors and hotel chains realized that they could make a lot of money from casino-goers.

Casinos are able to profit from gamblers by imposing an advantage over the player, known as the house edge. This can be as low as a few percent on some games, but over the millions of bets that are placed each day, it adds up to significant revenues. It is these revenues that enable casinos to offer big bettors extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment and elegant living quarters. The smaller bettors are also enticed by reduced-fare transportation, free rooms and other amenities.

Today’s casino is more like an amusement park than a traditional gaming establishment. Many casinos offer numerous forms of gambling and are open to all ages. The casino industry is a major source of revenue for local governments, enabling them to fund essential services and avoid raising taxes elsewhere.