The Casino Industry

The casino is a gambling establishment where people gamble money by playing games of chance, or with a little skill, like blackjack and roulette. The casino industry brings in billions of dollars each year for its owners and investors. Casinos can be massive, themed resorts or tiny card rooms in bars or at truck stops. The casino industry also has a dark side, with crime figures sometimes making their way into casinos to control the flow of money and intimidate players.

While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and luxurious hotels all help draw gamblers, the casino would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, poker, craps, baccarat, blackjack and other table games provide the billions in profits that drive the business.

In the 1950s, organized crime dominated the casino business in Nevada. Mafia leaders made large investments, taking sole or partial ownership of many casinos and imposing their will on their employees. As mob control eroded in the 1960s, legitimate businessmen began investing in the industry. Large hotel chains bought out the mafia-controlled operations and established their own casinos. Mob involvement in casinos continued, however, with mobster funds often providing the bankroll for the most profitable ventures.

Casinos rely on their patrons to spend lots of money and, in turn, offer them free hotel rooms, meals and show tickets. The perks are called “comps.” In Las Vegas, comps can even include limo service and airline tickets. Comps are based on how much a player gambles and his or her level of play, as determined by the casino’s evaluators.

The elegant spa town of Baden-Baden, Germany, was a playground for European royalty and the aristocracy 150 years ago. Today its casinos cater to an international clientele. The Bellagio, in particular, has become renowned for its high-end dining, spectacular art and breath-taking architecture, earning the title of the world’s best casino.

Successful casinos generate enormous revenues each year for their owners, corporations, investors and Native American tribes. They also provide jobs and bring in tax revenue for state and local governments. Casino-type game machines have even been introduced at racetracks as racinos, and some states allow them to be operated in bar-and-restaurant venues and truck stops. In addition to the glitz and glamour, casinos also offer serious gamblers a wide variety of games to choose from. From high-stakes baccarat to low-limit poker, there’s something for everyone at a casino. For the most part, though, casino customers are a demographic group that includes women and older adults with above-average incomes who enjoy recreational gambling in a social environment. The average casino patron is a forty-six-year-old woman from an affluent family. These individuals are the target market for marketers who want to lure them away from their homes to a place that provides both recreation and excitement. For these patrons, the casino is a home away from home. The darker side of the industry, crime and corruption in casinos, is a less attractive proposition.