The term ‘casino’ was derived from the Italian word ‘Casa’ that meant a small country villa, summerhouse, or a pavilion. Generally, casinos are built near or attached with hotels, retail shopping, or other tourist attractions. Legalization of casinos has become a topic for debate in the United States over the last decade because many people argue that socioeconomic consequences of casino gambling outweigh its financial benefits. In the United States, many states are now thinking of legalizing casinos with intent to resolve the existing high unemployment and budget deficits issues.
The states believe that construction of casinos at tourist destinations would be an effective strategy to attract more domestic as well as global visitors and thereby to contribute to economic viability. Some casinos are famous for working with live entertainment programs like stand-up comedy, concerts, and sports items. It is estimated that there are nearly 900 casinos in the United States now and this number is increasing day by day since more states tend to legalize the operation of casinos. Presently, 38 US states allow some form of casino gambling and moderately low population density areas such as Los Vegas are best known for gambling. Although gambling has been legally restricted in the United States, its accessibility and intensity of participation is increasing progressively. In 2007, US’ gross revenues of $92.27 billion were generated from gaming activities. In addition, the 2006 financial data indicate that commercial casinos employed 354,000 employees and paid $5.2 billion in state and local tax. However, the casino gambling results in increasing crime rates, political corruption, and compulsive gambling. This paper will analyze “Crime and Gambling” associated with casinos and gaming within the United States. History of Casino Gaming In the United States, attitude towards gambling was enhanced during the British colonial period. In the earlier period of gaming history, any form of game involved dice and cards. By the beginning of the 18the century, gambling was considered as a recreational activity in the US. During this period, a number of gambling houses such as casinos were established in the American mainland, particularly in New Orleans. Historical information reveals that the US game sector was known for games like blackjack and poker in the 18th century. In that time, big-time gamblers widely employed the riverboats plying the Mississippi river as gambling houses. Since the state of California legally regulated the operation of casinos and gambling houses, the California Gold Rush quickly transplanted its gambling activities to San Francisco. The Gold Rush utilized the wealth acquired from gambling activities to establish well organized gambling houses and this practice eventually contributed to the economic boom of the Wild West. This time period is commonly referred to as Gold Rush era. Historians say that gambling got wide popularity at the time of settlement of the west and subsequently, large number of people began to participate in gaming activities. During this time, towns like Dodge City and Kansas City were all popular for their many posh gaming houses. In this era, western people considered gamblers as a respected class of society and this situation added to gambling popularity. After the turn of the century, many US states banned the gambling activities and this practice shut down a major revenue source of the United States. In 1910, Nevada criminalized gambling activities and subsequently, the state of California also followed the same approach. As the gambling was illegal in the US mainland also, gamblers relocated their activities to illegal card rooms, private clubs, and speakeasies.