Is the Gambling Industry Becoming a Bad Risk? The Buzz

Few industries have enjoyed such rapid growth as that of gambling.

Of course, gambling has been around for years. Now, however, it is legal in more places throughout North America than ever before. Legalization has caused huge growth in the field.

Gambling includes lotteries, horse racing, charitable gaming and casinos.

Casino gambling is second only to lotteries in popularity. Despite a nagging reputation of being responsible for destroying the lives of gambling addicts and their families, casinos are being credited for improving the economic situation of many communities throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The first casino was built in Nevada in 1931. In 1976, casino gambling was legalized elsewhere in the U.S.

Atlantic City (in New Jersey) and Nevada are the most well-known casino venues. In 2004, Nevada casinos brought in $10.56 billion in gross casino revenue. That's according to the American Gaming Association.

Just How Big is This Industry?

The American Gaming Association says in 2003, gambling produced $$72.87 billion in revenue.

With such big profits, it's clear that not all casinos are corner store operations. For example, Park Place Entertainment Corp. is a casino company with over 50,000 employees in 30 resorts in five countries, according to Hoover's Online.

Park Place's well-known U.S. casinos include Caesars Palace. Park Place generates about one-third of the total revenue on the Vegas strip.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Hundreds of thousands of people depend on jobs in the casino industry.

The American Gaming Association reports that casinos employ over 370,000 Americans. The industry creates about 450,000 more indirect jobs.

While the wages may be less than the average wages of workers in other industries, your ability to get into casino work at the entry level is very good.

"The casino industry is actually crying for qualified personnel," says Bill Zimmer. He's the vice-president of casino games for a Las Vegas resort.

Some casino companies have developed strategies to recruit new workers. Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts in Atlantic City, for example, has an internship program to lure new workers.

"We had to create the internal training programs," says Dale Peterson. He is vice-president of finance for a casino chain. "We look for soft skills -- aptitude, hygiene, disposition. We run dealer courses at our own expense and guarantee employment to those that pass."

The casino industry has both high turnover and high transient rates, says Peterson. In other words, people quit casino jobs and reappear in the industry in other cities.

This could help when job opportunities stall in some communities. If willing to move, a casino worker will likely find good opportunities elsewhere.

Internet Casinos -- A Cyberspace Threat?

Forget the vacation down to the lavish Las Vegas casino.

Now, all you need is a computer and a connection to the Internet to gamble. Many observers predict that Internet casinos will soon be giving traditional casinos a run for their money.

Online gaming revenues have definitely been on the rise. According to the American Gaming Commission, some studies show online revenues have doubled every year.

Sue Schneider is the CEO of a company that offers online services to the interactive gaming community. Schneider sees evidence of continuing momentum in Internet gaming.

"It's our perspective that there will be a continued growth in both the number of sites, as well as the amounts wagered on Internet gaming. And we're already seeing an expected shift from some of the early entrepreneurs operating these companies to existing land-based gaming operators around the world who are entering the business," says Schneider.


American Gaming Association
Lots of stats

Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field, see Gaming Occupations in the OOH

Park Place Entertainment
Check out this lucrative company