Casinos have become a major industry in the United Stated over he past few years. Before the 1980s, casino gambling was only legal in Nevada and Atlantic City, NJ. Since then, 30 states have legalized casino gambling.

Many states approved commercial casino gambling primarily because they see it as a tool for economic growth. The greatest benefits are increased in employment, greater tax revenue to the state and local governments, and growth in local retail sales. The increasing fiscal pressure on state budgets, fear of lost revenues to casinos in neighboring states and a more favorable public attitude regarding casino gambling all have led to its acceptance. This is according to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission’s Final Report.

The passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1998, allows Indian tribes to operate casinos on their reservations. Many states have a combination of tribal and corporate establishments.

The amount of money wagered in American corporate casinos is not small at all. More than $370 billion was wagered in the year 20000 alone. The average per person in the United States is $1 300. Of the annual total wagered, roughly 93% is returned to players in the form of winnings. The casinos are left with $26 billion in annual adjusted revenue.

The casino revenue varies per state but Nevada has the largest market with establishments raking in nearly $9.5 billion annually in adjusted gross revenue. Casinos in Atlantic City generates more than $4 billion annually and riverboat casinos in Missouri and Illinois brought it $1 billion and $1.8 billion in adjusted gross revenue during 2001.

Even though the economic development is used by the casino industry and local governments to sell the idea of gambling to citizens, the amount of growth and benefits remain unclear.