The Economic Importance of Casinos

The word casino brings to mind images of twinkly lights and the sounds of slot machines ringing out. While casinos do indeed provide entertainment, excitement and the potential to win a jackpot, they are also an important economic driver for many communities. Casinos are a good source of tax revenue that can help to fund local infrastructure projects, prevent budget cuts and raise wages in the surrounding neighborhood.

Gambling has been part of human culture for millennia. Archaeological evidence shows that wooden blocks were used for gambling in China as early as 2300 BC and dice appeared around 500 AD. Card games followed in the 1400s and in 1655 Mathematician and all-around Genius Blaise Pascal created roulette, which helped to define the modern casino.

Casinos are carefully designed to influence visitor behavior. Classic casino design focuses on using slot machines as the primary decor and creating intimate, windowless spaces that are designed to make people feel at home. The enticing array of games and the labyrinth-like layout are meant to distract visitors and keep them playing as long as possible.

Other designs focus on building more social interactions among casino patrons and leveraging loyalty programs to encourage repeat visits. For example, some casinos offer free meals or hotel stays to their best players. These perks can have significant psychological effects on the player, especially if they are a high roller.

The film Casino reveals how a complex web of corruption enveloped Vegas in the 1980s, with tendrils reaching from the mob to politicians, labor unions and even the Teamsters. While Scorsese’s portrayal of the violence may seem over the top, it is a faithful reflection of real-life events.