Is a Casino a Good Idea For Your Community?


When most people think of casino they imagine the massive gambling pavilions in Las Vegas or Atlantic City, but casinos are also found across the country. They are designed around the excitement of winning money from games of chance, such as slot machines, roulette, blackjack and poker. While elaborate hotel accommodations, musical shows and lighted fountains add to the attraction, the billions of dollars in profits that casinos make each year are generated by the games themselves.

The most popular of the casino games are blackjack, poker and craps. A variety of other games are also available, including video poker and bingo. The games vary in terms of skill and rules but the common denominator is the excitement of gambling.

Casinos employ large numbers of people, many of them local residents, and generate tax revenues for the host communities. They also draw tourists from other parts of the state and nation, which helps local hotels and other tourist attractions. Critics, however, argue that the local gains are outweighed by the losses to compulsive gamblers and by the costs of treatment and lost productivity.

When considering whether a casino is a good idea for a community, local officials and citizens should examine the specific employment impacts. In particular, it is important to compare local changes in unemployment with statewide changes in the same period to see if a casino actually adds jobs. It is also important to consider whether the new workers will be from the original local population or if they will be commuters from other areas of the state, which could reduce any employment benefits that the casino might otherwise bring.

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