Problems and Benefits of a Casino
A Casino is a gambling establishment where the majority of the entertainment comes from games of chance. Though stage shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers help draw in patrons, casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars raked in by games such as blackjack, roulette, craps and keno. Slot machines and video poker also bring in significant revenues for most American casinos.
While gambling in its various forms probably predates recorded history, the modern casino as we know it began to develop after World War II. Las Vegas was an early leader, followed by Atlantic City and the Chicago area. Native American gaming is a growing industry, and many states now have laws allowing casinos on reservation lands.
Unlike legitimate businessmen who were wary of the seamy image of casinos, organized crime figures saw an opportunity to use their illegal earnings to finance them. Mob money helped build the Bellagio, the Wynn and many other casinos in Las Vegas, as well as Reno and other cities. In some cases, the mafia even took sole or partial ownership of a casino, as was the case with the Ridotto in downtown Reno.
The casino industry is thriving, but there are some serious problems with it. One is the damage caused by compulsive gambling. Studies show that this problem erodes local spending on other forms of entertainment, and the cost of treating and rehabilitating gamblers essentially offsets any economic benefits casinos may bring. Another issue is the effect of casinos on property values in the areas where they are located.