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Look Beyond Las Vegas To See Casino Gaming's Large Local Impact by David G. Schwartz

Even though Nevada lost its monopoly on casino gaming in 1976, many Americans still think of the national casino gaming industry as being mostly in—and benefiting—Las Vegas. But most of the $72 billion or so tribal and commercial casinos make each year comes from outside Las Vegas. And while the industry gets attention on the national stage, casino gaming’s biggest impact is decidedly local.

A word about terminology: a commercial casino is a gambling establishment owned by a private company and licensed and regulated by a state. Tribal gaming operations are owned and regulated by the tribe, with oversight from the National Indian Gaming Commission. A racino is a portmanteau of “racetrack” and “casino” that is used for tracks that have added slot machines, although some have table games as well. In some states, slot machines are known as electronic gaming devices, and in others they are called video lottery terminals, but the gameplay is essentially the same. You may also hear about “distributed gaming,” which is slot machines in non-casino locations like bars, taverns, and truck stops.

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