Casinos in one form or another have been around since the time of the ancient Greeks. The popularity of casinos really expanded in the 17th century with the establishment of the Ridotto in Venice.
In America the popularity of saloons further established the growth and popularity of casinos. Casinos are institutions that house a variety of gambling activities that span card games, lottery style games, dice games, roulette and video slot machines. They are often on the same premises as hotels, shopping centres or tourist attractions.
Most countries have strict laws that govern where gambling can take place and casinos are the location of choice for these activities. Casinos often try and cultivate an image of opulence, wealth and a clean and safe environment.
Casinos and Social Responsibility
This attractive image created by the casino industry is usually at odds with the debate on the social impact of casinos on their surroundings. Through popular culture and the media, casinos are often associated with organized crime and urban decay. Through government intervention through legislature, casinos have been pushed to do more for the surrounding economy and society through charitable actions.
Often Casinos need to attribute a portion of their gaming profits to investing in a variety of projects and funds that enrich the community that it is part of. Gaming organisations like PAF in Norway has managed to uplift the island location that it is part of. Notably Australia and New Zealand has placed strict controls on its gaming industry to ensure not just fair play, but also to protect its citizens from gambling addiction and exploitation of minority communities.
Notable International Casinos
There are a few Casinos that have helped create the common archetypes for casino’s look and lay out. These casinos have spread to public consciousness through popular media. Easily one of the most famous casinos is the Monte Carlo casino in Monaco. It caters mostly to the rich with high stake odds on their games and it is also considered popular tourist attraction. Due to its well established image it is a popular theme used in slots and card games. It has featured in many books and films.
Macau in Hong Kong has become another famous casino district due to it being the biggest gambling district in Asia. It features the world largest casino, the Venetian Macao. Just like Monte Carlo, many online titles are themed to popular Macau casinos.
The American Casino Market
The United States features multiple iconic casino destinations. Las Vegas is easily one of the most well known of these. Its iconic sights and sounds have made it into multiple films, books and games and is also known for featuring some of the most expensive real estate in America. There are currently over 900 casinos all over America. Las Vegas as of 2009 generates an estimated $5.550 billion in revenue annually. This figure is followed by Atlantic City with annual revenue of $3.943 billion.
Native American peoples have also established a strong foothold in the casino market since they can establish their own gaming laws in their specific districts under their Indian Gaming Laws. The Native American gaming industry is also known for placing a larger emphasises on social responsibility than most American casinos.