Roles of Casinos in the Gambling Industry

Casinos are the largest single sector of the gambling industry and online poker is by far one of the most leading online games played at all leading casinos and online poker rooms across the globe.

From 1982 to 1996, the percentage increase for casino gambling was only slightly below that for the overall gambling industry.

In 1996, 74.8 percent of the industry handle was wagered in non-Indian reservation casinos. If Indian reservation casinos were included, casino gambling would account for 85.6 percent of the total industry handle.

Nevada and Atlantic City, are the major gambling centers within the casino industry. Although table games in Nevada and New Jersey have a larger handle than slots,the difference has been narrowing since 1982.

Slots have been growing as a source of handle and from 1982 to 1996, the percentage increase was 7.4 times larger than the handle increase for table games.

As new gamblers less experienced with table games have come to participate in gambling, the expansion of casino gambling in Nevada and Atlantic City has resulted in the increased popularity of machine games.

In 1996, the casino handle for Nevada ($114.1 billion) was almost three times of the size of the casino handle for Atlantic City.

Moreover, Atlantic City had only 1,376 table games compared to 5,199 in Nevada. While Atlantic City is a major gambling destination for residents of Philadelphia, the New York City metropolitan area, and the mid-Atlantic states, Nevada is the premier casino gambling venue in the United States, drawing customers from throughout the nation and the world.

Not to mention riverboat and other waterborne casinos are an important recent development in the gambling industry.

These gambling venues include Indiana vessels on Lake Michigan and 'dockside' casinos in Mississippi that do not actually cruise anywhere.

For simplicity, these are all refereed to as 'riverboat casinos'. The riverboat handle is considerably smaller in absolute dollars than the handles for Atlantic City or Nevada, but it has been growing rapidly in recent years.

Riverboats are the fastest growing segment of the gambling industry, with more than a 9,391 percent increase in handle from 1991 to 1996.

Riverboats are a middle American phenomenon. With the exception of Indiana, they operate in states that border the Mississippi River.

As of June 1996, sixty-six riverboat casinos were operating in six states. There have been attempts to legalize riverboat casinos in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, but proposals have failed to make it through the legislative process or have been defeated by voters in referenda.

With regard to other land-based casinos, these casinos operated legally only in Nevada until 1978, when the first casino operated in Atlantic City. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, limited stakes casino gambling was legalized in Deadwood, South Dakota, and Cripple Creek, Central City, and Black Hawk, Colorado.

The handle for these venues is small, but these communities are important regional gambling centers. Their popularity is attested to by the substantial increase in handle between 1990 and 1996.