Gambling has been around for thousands of years with evidence of people playing early dice and other games all the way back in ancient China and India. Human beings like to gamble and take risks. We also like to win. The first casino was started in Venice back in 1638. In the 1820’s casinos operated on the riverboats down the Mississippi, unregulated, they were a magnet for card cheats. In 1906 The Golden Gate Casino opened in Las Vegas and is the oldest and smallest hotel casino on Fremont Street.
Today the gambling industry’s revenue is nearly $500 billion annually and is a truly global business. Although there are countries where gambling is illegal offshore casinos have made it possible for people to play online even in regions where gambling is banned.
You might be thinking to yourself that you would like to have a slice of that pie. After all the house always wins so why not become the house instead of the gambler? Is this possible though? What would it take for you to be able to open your own casino in this day and age?
Is it possible to open a casino?
The short answer is yes. It is definitely not impossible but there are many reasons why it is going to be difficult. The ifrst factor for any new business right now is how Covid-19 would affect it. With all the restrictions in place on social distancing and operating rules you would have to ask yourself if it is worth starting any new business up. Let us assume though that Covid has passed and see what else needs to be addressed.
Does your region or country allow gambling?
There are different gambling laws and regulations all over the world. Indeed there can be different laws for different areas of the same country. In India gambling is only allowed in 3 states currently and doesn’t look like changing anytime soon. The US allows land based casinos in about 24 states currently and only 12 states allow online casinos. Texas has very strict laws and Thailand does not allow any gambling except on the state lottery and horse racing.
You will need to research your local laws first and if they prevent you from opening a casino then you have two other options. One is to find a new location and the other is to start an online casino. Even if your state bans online casinos and online gambling there are legal ways around this that you can read further down. Don’t forget it will not just be a gaming licence you need, if you want to serve alcohol, and it’s fairly certain that you do then you will need a liquor licence too.
You will need to put together a viable, professional business plan thatyou can confidently present to potential investors. The plan must be realist and feasible. You will want to show your potential investors that there is a demand for a casino in your chosen area, how you will beat any competition - perhaps with some unique features you want to incorporate into the casino. Unless you have substantial funds it will be necessary to find a group of investors. This also offsets some of the risks of opening a new business.
Building a great casino team
You need to find the right people to help you run the casino. Even if you decide to start your casino online after all you will still need a team of people but for the point of this let us assume you are still going down the traditional casino route. You need to find staff that are professional and have good solid experience in the casino industry. Depending on what the job is that you are recruiting for your staff may need licenses too.
The first staff member you should recruit is a manager. You want someone with a really good background in this industry and get them to come in early to help start the casino. You will be able to use their experience to your advantage. They should be able to give you recommendations on what equipment to get in such as how many gaming tables, what roulette wheels they recommend and they may have knowledge of the most popular slot machines like blazing star or others that players will spend a lot of money on.
Show me the money
You will need cash. And a lot of it. Not only do you need cash for general payouts when gamblers come to change their chips or tokens you will need to have a certain amount on site always. The Audit Division of the Gaming Control Board will need you to remain compliant at all times. If you fall $1 below your required reserve you must alert the Gaming Control Board. The amount you need to hold differs from casino to casino but be prepared to be holding millions of dollars at any one time. Basically every prize that is on public display needs to be covered. So to put it simply, the cash equivalent of every chip in the house needs to be to hand.
Marketing your establishment
You will need to market the casino. Advertise your grand opening and any special event or entertainment you may be putting on. This could mean local radio, television, billboards and newspaper advertising. Targeting social media getting features published on relevant local websites will help spread the word. If you are opening a larger casino then you might want to spread your advertising further. You can emply an advertising or marketing agency to get a professional team on the case.
You will need a compliance officer to make sure all Data Protection Laws are being followed and data stored safely.
You might now have decided that it is too hard to open a traditional casino and want to consider an online casino that offers the usual games like blackjack, ruletka, poker like a land based casino does but with less investment and staff. The bad news is a conservative estimate to start an online casino is still going to be between $1 and $2 million plus you will need to allow a monthly marketing budget of around $50,000 to start with. However one bonus is that if you live in a place where gambling is not allowed you can set your servers in another country such as Gibraltar which welcomes online casinos and still operate in other countries.
You will need a team of coders, app developers, SEO team, marketing experts and more. It might after all be easier just to carry on enjoying the games as a player instead of being the owner.