Casinos were once a place that gave away goods and services such as hotel rooms, food, beverages and even comped shows to lure players to gamble – where they made most of their revenue. The evolution of casino marketing and junket departments was tasked with building mailing lists to invite players – hopefully “whales” to their casinos. The theory was money won from gamblers offset the comps being offered by casino marketing teams, driving billions in profits for gaming giants.
In 1995 there were 2,575 gaming licenses in Nevada with 5,400 games, 567 tables, 182,000 slots. The peak for casinos came in 2007 with 2,987 licenses, 6,137 games and 1,006 tables. Since that time Vegas was hit by the great depression that hurt overleveraged casinos, dependent on gaming to pay their high debts. By 2018 there were 2,931 licenses in Las Vegas – same levels as 2005 and who knows what that number will be by the end of the 2020 pandemic.