The game of chance involves the risk of losing something of value for the possibility of winning something bigger or better. Organized gambling has grown to be a multi-billion dollar industry. While common sense would suggest that gambling is irrational, scientists postulate different reasons for its appeal. Some speculate that gambling may represent an attempt by humans to control the randomness of life. While gambling has been a popular past-time for many cultures, it is an industry in its own right.
The impacts of gambling are often categorized as negative or positive. These impacts can be economic, social, and/or health-related. Some of these impacts are local, while others are global and affect society/community at large. The negative impacts of gambling are particularly evident in local communities, as they divert spending from local businesses and activities. Some of the negative impacts of gambling may outweigh the positive impacts, because societal and economic costs associated with problem gambling outweigh the benefits of having a casino.
In terms of employment and economic development, casinos generally attract skilled labor. The local unemployment rate is determined by the number of unemployed individuals divided by the labor force. While the population of the area has been unchanged, the number of newly arrived higher-skilled residents has increased. This is because the casino has created jobs for more skilled individuals. Consequently, the unemployment rate has decreased. But these are only empirical findings and cannot be applied to all local areas.
The prevalence of gambling in the United States has increased as more states legalize casino gambling. Today, more than one thousand states have casinos. And the trend is continuing as more states legalize this activity. The growth in the number of casinos in the United States is largely driven by Interstate competition, with only a handful of cities having a large concentration of casinos. For example, Las Vegas has the most casinos per capita in the country, while Atlantic City and the Chicago region rank second and third in terms of revenue.
As far back as history can tell, gambling has been around for a long time. The earliest forms of dice were astragali (cut knuckle bones) and six-sided dice. Casinos were established in the 16th century, and the gambling craze began to sweep Europe. The Italian aristocracy often held private parties in private clubs known as ridotti. The aristocratic class knew that the Italian Inquisition would arrive at these gatherings.
The popularity of gambling has increased dramatically since the 1950s when casinos opened in Nevada. Legal gambling was still illegal in every other state, but the casinos attracted organized crime figures. They had money to burn from illegal gambling rackets and were not bothered by the glitz and glamour. Casinos and motels flooded into Nevada and Reno, and even Native American tribes opened casinos in the state. There are now dozens of casinos across the United States.