The Benefits and Disadvantages of Casinos


In the U.S., about $370 billion was wagered at corporate casinos in 2000, or $1,300 per person. Nearly 93 percent of that money is returned to players as winnings. The casinos generate an estimated $26 billion in adjusted revenue each year, with the largest concentration in Nevada. Atlantic City casinos, for example, generate $4 billion annually, while riverboat casinos in Missouri and Illinois collected more than $1 billion each in 2001. However, the economic benefits of casinos do not necessarily outweigh the negative effects of gambling.

Despite the widespread perception that casinos are only for gambling, the word is very broad. A casino can include racetracks, restaurants, shopping malls, and entertainment. Some casinos even host live entertainment, such as shows and musical performances. While gambling at a casino may be a luxury, its roots date back centuries. In the 17th century, Ridotto built one of the first recognizable casinos. The term “casa” means “house,” so a casino may be any building where people can gamble.

The growth of the casino industry in Nevada was spurred by the rise of Native American gaming. Although casinos were not legal in other states, Nevada was an exception. Native American gaming has also contributed to the growth of casinos outside of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Casinos handle large sums of money, and patrons and staff may want to cheat or steal. Fortunately, most casinos have several security measures in place to prevent this. At the very least, security cameras are installed in casino facilities.