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Can casinos be good for the economy and society?

Published on February 17, 2018, 2:43 pm

by Jeff Grant Twitter account Jeff Grant LinkedIn account

Are casinos useful in any way to our society? Before we try and get an absolute answer to this question, let’s understand what casinos are and what makes them so attractive and addictive.

A casino is a house (comes from the Italian word ‘casa’, which means ‘house’ more) or a facility that hosts different types of gambling events. Naturally, a lot of money is involved in these gambling events, which brings along some benefits and disadvantages as well.

The first thing to note here is, because of the risks and the number of resources required, casinos are not legal everywhere. In this day, if one were to build a proper casino hotel with a lot of rooms and amenities, it could easily cost a couple of billion dollars. This is, of course, after you get the license for it. Applying for a license is not that difficult as there are online applications available.

However, you do have to be very particular about the conditions that come along with it. You have to be vigilant when it comes to preventing money laundering, underage gambling and such kind of social responsibilities. Let’s say you got the license and the required capital and even managed to successfully build a proper casino hotel. Now, you have the maintenance to worry about.

Casino slots maintenance
Slots maintenance is one of the critical tasks that affects the casino's budget (image courtesy of

For starters, you have to update the slots and table games frequently, so that the customers don’t complain about them being outdated. By update, I mean buying entirely new sets of equipment. You can read more about slots at, which also includes a list of best new casinos 2018 if you’re interested. Considering the number of machines you have to replace, add in the cost of labor to that, and you will notice that the maintenance cost is really, really high.

Finally, you have to have enough money to pay the winners. There’s a common misconception that goes with the saying, “The House always wins.” Although this is true to some extent, there have been a lot of incidents where the casinos have gone broke and shut down. This could be due to a lot of reasons. Maintenance not being done properly, lack of customers and stuff like that. So, yes, a lot of time, money and effort is required to run a successful casino.

Your next question must be, “Why?” Why do people go through all this trouble to build a casino? Simply put, it’s because of the revenue. The average global revenue for the casino market is around a hundred and fifty billion dollars. That’s huge. And you definitely know it’s big when there’s an entire city built for gambling. Yes, I am talking about Las Vegas. There are 24-hour casinos that are almost always busy. This city alone makes around 72 billion dollars in revenue every year.

Planet Hollywood Casino (Las Vegas)
Planet Hollywood Casino (Las Vegas)

Now that we have an idea of what casinos are all about, let’s look at a few benefits and disadvantages.


When people gamble, they do it to win money. It’s as simple as that. Sure, some people might just do it for fun, but ultimately, they all expect to win some money. And winning is addictive. Once you win, you keep betting to win more and more. Sometimes you actually get lucky and do win a lot of money, but more often than not, you end up having less money in your wallet than what you started out with. This is a double-edged sword. The customer is more than happy if he ends up making a profit, otherwise, the money goes to the house, which in turn is beneficial to the society as some of the house winnings are contributed towards city development.

Cities that have the luxury of building casino hotels, also enjoy the frequent and numerous visitations from tourists from different parts of the world. This absolutely improves the economy as the tourist tax is nothing to be scoffed at.

Because of the high volume of people visiting these casinos every minute, the hotels need to have a lot of manpower to control the crowd and keep everybody satisfied. This involves hiring a lot of people who specialize in different things. From chefs and waiters to bouncers to securities and dealers, the list keeps going. Because of this, the employment rates are very high, which is always a good thing.

Casino management structure
A typical casino management structure


One major disadvantage is, of course, the potential of criminal activities occurring. Because of all the money involved, you never know what’s going to happen. The hotels have to be extra careful when someone’s on a losing streak. That’s why you can never go wrong with some extra security.

Losing all the money is one other disadvantage. No matter how small or big a bet might be, losing all of it is always a disappointment. If you don’t know when to stop, then gambling could prove to be a really nasty habit (read about how gambling can become problematic for your health).

Well, after considering all of the above, there isn’t really a solid answer to the aforementioned question. It all comes down to your personal opinion. Casinos can be really great for a city’s economy, but at the same time, it could mean disastrous for certain individuals and families. Personally, I think casinos are beneficial, as long as everyone’s having a good time. You can have an amazing amount of fun and the city could benefit from it.

How is Betting good for the economy?

As far as spending money goes, betting and casino games sure give that extra thrill we often seek in life. Indulging in such activities, if conducted with care, could be very enjoyable experience. People will always be doing it, regardless of any political and legal issues. From the financial point of view, exploiting it make much more sense than ignoring it or fighting with it.

There is no doubt that gambling is a great business idea as is, for many people and companies. With ever-growing numbers of online poker sites that accept US players, as well as increased legal opportunities in the country, it is a branch of huge economic potential – in United States and virtually anywhere in the world. Every year it seems to exceed new highs in terms of revenue growth. Not to mention other aspects of influencing the economy, such as creating new jobs.

What is even more symptomatic, prospering business ideas tend to attract new opportunities. The famous Las Vegas Strip has long ago become much more than a place where you can pull down slot machine lever and spin roulette wheel. It is a highly developed entertainment complex oriented on pleasing all kinds of clientele.

Alongside modern and extravagant casinos, there are luxurious hotels, SPA resorts, fancy restaurants, spacious stage rooms for shows and concerts, and other venues designed for many various recreational purposes.

Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip - Photo by EconomicOldenburger / CC BY-SA 3.0

The industry drives itself and thrives on cooperation. A little bit of marketing magic, reflected in charming storytelling and slogans like “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, helps creating picturesque background to invite people from all over. Everything to make sure they would have a wonderful time and be eager to spent some money, even if not on betting.

All of that, apart from legal issues, is the reason that commonly known gaming centers are perceived as perfect holiday destinations for their own. However strong the appeal to attract professional and recreational bettors, it must be noted that from economical point of view building casinos is not that profitable. Only investing in “full service” facilities has a potential to create enough traction to become a real money-making project, worthy of attention.

In United States, Las Vegas’ study case and their success inspired the expansion of establishments in other states: Atlantic City, Reno, Biloxi and Tunica County in Mississippi – all wanted a piece of the cake. The rest of the world also didn’t stand still. On the contrary, the industry flourished in many parts around the globe, with the most notable example being Macau – very much so the new global gambling capitol.

Ceasars Casino (Atlantic City, NJ)
Ceasars Casino (Atlantic City, NJ) - Photo by William Warby / CC BY 2.0

Not only private entrepreneurs seem to be noticing the advantages but politicians and governments, too. Prohibition in pretty much any area proved to be often counterproductive, ineffective at best. No wonder the authorities would much rather see the tax profits supply annual budget than idly watch the black-market grow.

Hence new legislative propositions in the matter are considered by many countries. Brazil, for example, largely relays on tourism. Being in desperate need to increase income, serious plans to build luxurious casino resorts in Rio De Janeiro have emerged.


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