For many people, casinos are almost always associated with the cities of Las Vegas and Reno in Nevada, and in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Over the last several years, however, other states have legalized casino gambling, leading to a good number of establishments where locals can try their luck on a card game or a slot machine or two.
But do casinos really have tangible benefits to the city it calls home? For the many states that have approved commercial casino gambling, the answer is yes. Casinos benefit the community by:
Of course, there are many studies and arguments from both sides on the pros and cons that a casino has on any given location, but for the purposes of this article, let’s take a closer look at the benefits that casinos have on their home communities.
Probably the most obvious benefit a casino has is that it generates tax revenue for its home city.
Legalized gambling can make a significant amount of money for many communities. In California, for example, cities such as Commerce, Bell Gardens, Colma, Hawaiian Gardens, Gardena, and San Pablo depend on local card rooms for a significant portion of their revenue.
These tax revenues allow local politicians to fund essential community services or local infrastructure projects, or at the very least, avoid spending cuts or increase taxes elsewhere.
Just like any sizeable business establishment, casinos do create jobs for the neighborhood, providing much-needed employment opportunities for locals.
Studies have shown that casinos have produced the greatest economic benefits where the local economy is struggling, helping bring down unemployment rates, as well as bringing up average wages in the more immediate neighborhood of the casino.
According to a report released by the American Gaming Association, communities with casinos see a sharp uptick in employment not just within the casinos, but also among other surrounding businesses such as retail stores, restaurants, tourist attractions, and hotels.
Controlling for a variety of factors, the results showed that counties with casinos have higher employment (by around 8%) than those without; wages were slightly higher in casino counties.
Casinos in a community can lead to economic growth simply because they stimulate new economic activity in a given neighborhood.
With increased employment opportunities for local residents, we also see a cascading effect around the region, with the increase in property values, more local businesses flourishing, and increased spending among the locals.
Having a casino in your neighborhood does bring with it its own pros and cons, prompting local governments to study the benefits that casinos bring to the community.
No doubt, there may also be negative impacts on the community, but in many cases, the benefits outweigh the costs of having a local casino.
Clearly, many local governments have seen the positive effects a casino can have in terms of entertainment, employment, and economic benefits. A lot of planning and preparation does go with as well, to make sure the presence of said casino brings in more benefits than it does problems to the immediate area.