When most people picture a casino, they will probably imagine one of the megaresorts in Las Vegas—a massive hotel and entertainment complex, blazing with neon lights, games, and fun—however, casinos come in all sizes. Some casinos are huge, whereas others are small businesses defined more by the types of gambling they offer than by glitz and glamour.
The federal government classifies all businesses and industries operated within the United States with a six-digit code called the North American Industry Classification System code. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2002 NAICS Definitions: 713 Amusement, Gambling, and Recreation Industries, the code for casinos, 713210, is defined as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating gambling facilities that offer table wagering games along with other gambling activities, such as slot machines and sports betting. These establishments often provide food and beverage services. Included in this industry are floating casinos (i.e., gambling cruises, riverboat casinos).” Casino hotels—that is, hotels with a casino on the premises—fall under code 721120. They typically offer a variety of amenities, including dining, entertainment, swimming pools, and conference and convention rooms.
For practical purposes, casino gambling encompasses games of chance and skill played at tables and machines. Therefore, casino games take place in massive resorts as well as in small card rooms. There are also floating casinos operating on boats and barges on waterways across the country. Casino game machines have been introduced at racetracks to create racinos. In some states, casino-type game machines are also allowed in truck stops, bars, grocery stores, and other small businesses.
Successful casinos take in billions of dollars each year for the companies, corporations, investors, and Native American tribes that own and operate them. State and local governments also reap casino revenues in the form of taxes, fees, and other payments.
THE HISTORICAL AND CURRENT STATUS OF CASINOS
Gambling was illegal for most of the nation's history. This did not keep casino games from occurring, sometimes openly and with the complicity of local law enforcement, but it did keep them from developing into a legitimate industry. Even after casino gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1931, its growth outside that state was stifled for decades. It took forty-seven years before a second state, New Jersey, decided to allow casino gambling within its borders.
As Atlantic City, New Jersey, opened casinos during the late 1970s, a shift occurred in the legality of gambling elsewhere in the country, much of it due to the efforts of some Native American tribes. A string of legal victories allowed the tribes to convert the small-time bingo halls they had been operating into full-scale casinos. Other states also wanted to profit from casino gambling. Between 1989 and 1996 nine states authorized commercial casino gambling: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, and South Dakota.
By the end of 2007, commercial casinos operated in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota, and Native American casinos operated in twenty-nine states. Besides the full-scale casinos, racetrack casinos existed in eleven states: Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. These facilities are racetracks that also offer slot machines.
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