Casinos are big business – both financially and culturally .
Their revenues surpass those of Major League Baseball, the National Football League , and the National Basketball Association — combined .
Many casinos also have major attractions , such as golf courses, spas, and fine dining restaurants. In fact, some casinos even offer guests the opportunity to stay at their properties .
Most casinos operate as special-purpose governments , staffed with managers, customer service reps and other staff that oversee various aspects of the operation. Their employees are, for the most part, not represented by the government union, and are paid very well .
Casino employees also receive great benefits, including free lodging, free entertainment, free meals , and even free plane tickets .
While casinos may seem glamorous and exciting places to work , working in the industry doesn’t come without its downsides .
Some people may have trouble understanding why some casinos stay open while others don’t. Some casinos are forced to close their doors because of bankruptcy or poor management .
For instance, the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut closed its poker rooms in November 2011 . This followed a series of unfortunate events , including a near-bankruptcy and a failure to win an arbitration hearing with some of its workers. The company was originally owned by MGM Resorts International.
What Is a Casino ?
A casino is a building where games are played for entertainment purposes. These games can range from slot machines to card games to craps to roulette . Some casinos also feature boxing matches.
The word casino comes from the Italian phrase casinò , which means “little house.” This is a reference to the small building in which gambling was first played in Italy . Today, casinos can be found in many countries around the world.
In the United States , the first legal casino opened in Reno, Nevada, in 1931. Since that time, the United States government has permitted states to legalize different forms of gambling. These laws have enabled the casino industry to grow into a multibillion-dollar business .
On average , a casino’s revenue is $1 billion. However, some casinos make much more than that . For instance, in 2009, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas reported $5.6 billion in annual revenues.
The Business Behind the Tables
Many casinos are operated as private corporations. They hire people to run their casinos — from managers to security officers . And they also employ people to take care of their customers’ needs. These employees don’t all work in one place.
For example , a blackjack bk8 dealer at a casino in Arizona might only visit the casino on the weekends . But he or she might work at a casino in New York during the week.
While some casino employees work full-time at one casino , most work part-time at different casinos around the country. This allows them to collect regular paychecks without having to move to a new city or state .
Employees who work as pit bosses earn the highest salary at casinos. They can bring in $150 ,000 to $200,000 a year . However, this position requires on-the-job training and long hours on the casino floor.
Other casino employees include cashiers, slot attendants, cocktail servers, poker dealers, blackjack dealers and pit bosses . All of these employees can usually expect to make $50,000 to $60 ,000 a year.
As a whole , the casino industry employs approximately 1 million people in the United States. This number is expected to grow by 20 percent by the year 2020 — nearly triple the number of jobs that were created between 2005 and 2010 .
The Industry in Numbers
There are more than 8 ,300 casinos in the United States — with an estimated 38 million people visiting them each year. This amounts to about $90 billion in annual revenues .
About $10 billion of this revenue comes from slot machines alone. The rest comes from table games, such as blackjack and craps. However , these tables make up only 10 percent of a casino’s revenues .
Some states permit gambling on Native American lands. In other states — such as California — gambling is prohibited altogether .
In 2008 — the most recent year for which data is available — Nevada had the most casinos in the United States with 638 . California had the next highest number at 227. Other states that had many casinos included New York (108) and Florida (95).
Las Vegas is the biggest gambling city in the United States , with more than 50 casinos located there . Atlantic City is the second-biggest gambling city in the United States with 19 casinos.
There are also more than 20 casinos in Atlantic City’s neighbor, Philadelphia . In total , Americans gamble more than $300 billion per year — more than baseball fans and football fans combined.
1 . Casinos Have a Lot of Competition
Many states have legalized gambling on Native American lands in recent years. This has put pressure on casino operators to increase their own revenues in order to compete .
A recent study by the Nevada Gaming Control Board revealed that casinos in the Las Vegas metro area lost $1 million a day in 2011 .
The competition has forced some casinos to change their business tactics — and increase profits — in order to survive .
For example , Harrah’s Entertainment has experimented with new types of slot machines in the past — such as video poker machines that use virtual money instead of actual money .
Other casino companies have taken a different approach. For example , MGM Resorts International invested $100 million to upgrade its slot machines last year . This was done in order to attract new customers.
In the near future, the casino market will likely get even more competitive . For example , in 2012, the Pennsylvania legislature passed a law permitting slot machine gambling in the state’s Catskill Mountains region.
This will give other casino companies even more of an incentive to compete with one another .
2 . Casinos Are Big Business
The casino industry can be highly profitable for state governments as well .
For instance , Nevada’s state government received approximately $4 billion in revenues from the gaming industry in 2009. This figure represented nearly half of the entire state’s tax revenue that year .
Nevada is one of only a few U.S. states that ban gambling entirely. But the state still earns millions of dollars every year from gambling activities that occur on Indian reservations in the state .
Other states earn even more money from casinos and gambling in general . In Pennsylvania, for example , the state’s gambling industry made $14 billion in revenues in 2009 — more than the entire state budget that year — all from casinos and slot machines.
3 . Casinos Make Other Types of Industries Rich
Even though many people associate casinos with vice and hard work , many people don’t actually realize that they support other industries as well .
The largest employers in Nevada are casinos themselves. For example, in 2008, Las Vegas employed more than 115 ,000 people — many of them working in casinos . Vegas was also home to more than 400 restaurants and bars that year.
Other major industries supported by casinos include hotels, restaurants , gift shops and entertainment venues .