The Casino Industry is a Major Employer and Attracts Many Visitors From Nearby Areas


Whether the elegant spa town of Baden-Baden, Germany, where Marlene Dietrich once reigned over the world’s finest poker and blackjack tables or the Las Vegas Strip, which has become synonymous with gambling, casinos appeal to the innate sense of play in humans. Their design, lighting and noise are engineered to encourage excitement and social interaction. Players shout encouragement at each other in baccarat or craps; they are surrounded by other people as they play slot machines and are offered free drinks and snacks.

Casinos make money by charging a percentage of bets placed to cover operating costs and provide a profit. The advantage, which is usually less than two percent for table games, can be much greater for casino games with fixed payouts like keno or video poker. Casinos also profit from the vig or rake—a commission charged on winning bets or on a player’s total amount wagered.

The casino industry has dramatically increased the use of technology in its operations. For example, electronic “chip tracking” allows casinos to oversee minute-by-minute the exact amounts wagered at a game and be warned quickly of any anomaly; roulette wheels are monitored electronically on a regular basis to discover any statistical deviations.

The casino is also a major employer and draws visitors from a wide region. But critics charge that a casino does more harm than good, shifting local entertainment dollars to the casino and away from other forms of local entertainment and reducing property values in nearby housing markets.