The USA knows how to sell dreams! All you have to do is set foot in Manhattan and raise your eyes to a sky torn apart by buildings to understand that these people are driven by the gigantic. We find that in the poetry of Walt Whitman, in geopolitics, in this immense territory.
And yet, I remember this young girl I met in a pub in San Francisco who asked me what I had seen of the USA. She replied tersely that I did not know the USA with the pride of a kid from Ohio who came to San Francisco to conquer his dreams. It’s true. I was like those foreign tourists returning from the UK and saying to myself “I know the UK very well, I have been to the UK several times”… The real America, far from the capital of the world like New York, even further from San Francisco, more European than American, you can find it in American casinos.
In Europe, casinos are either popular or inaccessible for ordinary mortals. In the USA, from Las Vegas to Atlantic City, passing through the Native American reservations, the American people gather around a gaming table and play. It’s a bit like a football stadium for the clubs which still have that smell of people and which have not yet become franchises above ground. For 90 minutes, the doctor, the lawyer, the gardener or the unemployed person will share the same life, the same air, the same pain and perhaps even joy. In American casinos, it’s the same thing.
American Casinos, Superficial Prohibition
You have the gigantic Vegas and you have the spirit of conquest in the casinos of the Indian reservations. The other aspect of the USA is this capacity for hypocrisy that Molière wrote thus “Cover this breast that I cannot see. By such objects, souls are wounded, And that brings guilty thoughts.” in his famous play Tartuffe.
For non GamStop casinos, gambling in general, prohibition is in order. There are two US states that allow casinos. Nevada with Las Vegas and Louisiana. And New Jersey with the mythical Atlantic City. Well, casinos are banned except in Atlantic County? Practice? Do not laugh, in France, the legislators do the same thing with the law with variable geometry. In Mississippi, it’s only allowed in Tunica County. And that’s where we find the American character because, in this country out of 51 states, there are only four places, but yet in the collective imagination, casinos, gambling halls are part of the American identity. Las Vegas is obviously the beacon at night.
Yet there are still over 500 casinos in the USA that make more money than Vegas and Atlantic City reunited.
Casinos on Indian Reservations
Indian reserves are the substitutes for a territory that the American Indians possessed. We won’t rewrite history, but it is full of irony that the sons and daughters of settlers elect a man who dreams of a wall to protect them from what they were two hundred years ago. The reservations and therefore the tribes located on them are “a separate people retaining the power to regulate their internal relations and social relations” (United States v. Kagama, 1886).
This resembles the situation in Canada with Kahnawake and its online gaming license which many non GamStop casinos have. Native Americans have taken advantage of this to open their casinos. They offer on the one hand what has been prohibited in most states Americans and thus makes it possible to offer casino games without derogating from the WASP morality.
It is all American hypocrisy that plays it virtuous and is scandalized for a breast shown during the SuperBowl show when it is enriched by the world’s first pornographic industry.
These casinos are more or less in the 500 in the whole country. Most of the Indian reservations are west of the Mississippi, so that’s where most of the Indian casinos are.
Above all, don’t be condescending, there is no question of making a visit to see the remains of a civilization shattered by the Europeans. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe’s Foxwoods Resort and Casinos is one of the largest casinos in the world with a slot machine room with over 6300 slots!
Not all of the casinos in Vegas and Atlantic City combined are as profitable as those in the Native American community. The big difference with “outside” casinos is that the money does not go into the shareholders’ pockets, but becomes the tribe’s budget. You could say it’s almost a political act to gamble in a casino on a reservation.
The Conditions for Playing in American casinos
How many young Europeans went to celebrate their majority in Nevada to be turned away from casinos, nightclubs, bars? In America, the majority is at 21, even if the driver’s license is at 16. And believe it or not, it’s common to be asked for your ID in your late thirties.
The Craziest Numbers in Las Vegas
Las Vegas is 40 million people for about 40 billion in expenses. The average gambler loses a hundred dollars when visiting Vegas. This may come as a surprise, but you should know that on slot machines, which monopolize 67% of players in Vegas casinos, it is possible to play a few cents.
In 2020, physical and non GamStop casinos should reach 100 billion in turnover. That’s not bad for a country where gambling is generally banned… Since 2008, Vegas has seen real estate prices fall by 45%. The crisis has wreaked havoc in Nevada’s largest city. In 2018, i.e. 10 years afterwards, Las Vegas finds a frequency of before the crisis which is not the case of Atlantic City which would not be far from seeing prestigious casinos put the key under the door.