When most people hear the word casino, they think of the bright lights and big money that Las Vegas, Reno and Atlantic City have to offer. But casinos can also be found in smaller cities and towns where residents have a chance to try their hand at Lady Luck while enjoying some world class entertainment.
The etymology of the word casino goes back to Italy and once denoted something as simple as a villa or a summerhouse, or even a social club. Over time, it came to mean a variety of enjoyable activities and games of chance such as slots, roulette, poker, blackjack, craps and baccarat.
While many gambling games have an element of skill, the vast majority of casino games are based on pure chance and therefore give the house a mathematical expectation of winning. To offset this, most casinos offer complimentary goods and services to regular customers in the form of comps. These can include free hotel rooms, shows, dinners and limo service.
Casinos generate substantial tax revenue for their home communities, which are often struggling with budget deficits. In addition, they provide employment for a significant number of locals, and they attract visitors from all over the world who spend a great deal of money while in town. In 2005, according to Harrah’s Entertainment, 24% of American adults reported having visited a casino. Generally, these visitors were older adults with above-average incomes and ample vacation time who could afford to gamble.