How Casinos Affect the Local Economy


A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It may be combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops and/or other tourist attractions. Some casinos are famous for their glitz and glamour, while others emphasize customer service and offer a wide variety of perks to encourage gamblers to spend more money. Some of these perks include discounted hotel rooms, free show tickets, and food vouchers. Casinos also provide a source of revenue for many cities and towns. The taxes generated by these establishments help to fund vital community services and infrastructure projects, or avoid cuts to other spending or increases in local taxes.

Casinos earn billions of dollars every year through games like slot machines, blackjack, roulette and craps. But even with the glitzy decorations, lighted fountains and extravagant hotels that serve as their centerpieces, casinos wouldn’t exist without the games of chance that bring in the profits.

Proponents of casinos argue that they help improve the local economy by creating jobs and boosting average wages in the surrounding neighborhood. But such claims are often misleading. A more accurate way to evaluate a casino’s impact on local employment is to compare the change in the local unemployment rate before and after the opening of a new casino with the change in the statewide unemployment rate during the same period. If the statewide trend is higher, then the local increase in employment must be the result of economic changes outside the casino.