A casino is an establishment for gambling, also known as card rooms, internet casinos, poker rooms, video poker machines, etc. Casinos are usually strategically built close to or integrated with hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, cruise ships, other tourist attractions, and other recreational facilities. In the United States, there are currently approximately forty-five internet casinos. While most of them are located in Las Vegas, some of them are also found in Atlantic City, Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Buffalo, New York City, and elsewhere. Gambling is very popular in the United States, especially in states such as Texas, Florida, Nevada, and New Jersey.
In the United States, Las Vegas has the most casinos of any city, including Macau, a Portuguese island that is known for its luxurious gambling casinos. Most of the Las Vegas casinos are designed around some theme, such as poker, craps, blackjack, slot machines, bingo, roulette, or card games. There are over three thousand tables at a typical casino, including all tables that are licensed, plus more on special occasions. The majority of Las Vegas casinos are operated by international mega-rich men.
Most European countries, including Portugal, Spain, Greece, Italy, France, and Austria, have no specified laws for gambling, but there are still casinos available in these countries. Casino gambling can be traced back to the 16th century in Spain, when it was called “spoetudas”. In the United States, the first licensed casino gambling was established in Connecticut in 1639. Since then, most U.S. states have allowed private citizens to operate gambling facilities on land.
Casino gambling is organized by a commission, or a Gaming Commission, which is a politically-appointed body that licenses, controls, and monitors the activities of the state’s licensed gambling establishments. The Gaming Commission may either regulate casinos by local authority (state) or by county (local). A county commission may not regulate gaming but may appoint and regulate its local Gaming Commission. In some areas, the commission is controlled by political leaders and tribal groups. In addition to regulating gambling, the Gaming Commission also sets standards for gaming equipment, games, wagers, gaming debts, and auditing and inspections of state-regulated establishments.
Besides the large number of casinos scattered throughout the U.S., there are also hundreds of racecourses located in the state of New Jersey. Atlantic City is one of the most popular tourist destinations, but it is not without controversy. Tourists come from the U.S. and Europe to take in the action at the five hundred slot machines, craps booths, poker bars and miniature golf course. Some say that Atlantic City does not live up to its name of being the “Casino of the East Coast” because it is so much fun outside the traditional casino atmosphere. It certainly is an interesting subject for a University of Alabama class study.
In closing, despite the controversy that surrounds gambling in the New Jersey/New York area, it must be said that the number of casino slot machines and video poker machines in these areas far outweighs the number of live “hobbyist” casinos. Atlantic City has closed down, but Las Vegas continues to experience growth, especially along the Strip. The future of gambling looks bright in Las Vegas, which should serve as inspiration to future developers of casino resorts. Gambling may not be legalized in all the U.S., but it certainly has enough fan support to survive, especially as the economy improves.