How to start a casino

Updated February 21, 2017

Do you enjoy the action of casino gambling and the excitement of winning a poker hand or hitting 21 on Blackjack? If you love the financial risk in gambling, then opening your own casino might be right for you. Although your initial investment in opening a casino is significantly larger than putting a few dollars down on a bet, your return on investment can be large. You can open a traditional casino location for vacationers and game enthusiasts, or you can open an online casino that offers greater flexibility in gaming laws and regulations.

Work out a business plan for your casino. Estimate how many employees you need to hire and work out a budget for real estate, taxes, food and drink as well as all associated licenses and permits. Figure out how much start-up capital you need to start the casino.

Choose a location that patrons can access easily and that allows gaming. Familiarise yourself with your state's gaming limitations and laws then determine if you should start a casino in another state with more lenient regulations toward gaming.

Register your casino business. Form a limited liability company, commonly known as an LLC, or establish a corporation for your casino business. Running a business poses inherent risks when dealing with members of the public; you can protect yourself and your personal assets by incorporating your business.

Apply for a gaming license. Federal and state laws require that you maintain a legal gaming license. To obtain a gaming license, you need to provide a complete application with all requested information including your name and business name, your business address, business telephone number, Social Security number and federal tax identification number. Each state may have its own restrictions and requirements.

Secure your financing and set up your casino. Set up a few gaming tables in a retail or commercial space with your own money or a small business loan. Seek investors if you want to start a large-scale casino. Traditional casinos with all the amenities can cost millions of dollars to establish before they ever start turning a profit.

Obtain insurance policies and additional licenses as required. You need an insurance policy to protect the business location and any employees you hire. A liquor license will be required if you plan to serve or sell alcohol to patrons. If you plan to serve food, you may also be subject to inspections and permits issued by the Health Department.

Research online casino options if you wish to establish an online casino for a smaller investment. Some companies create gaming software which you can purchase or license for your own Internet casino. An online casino eliminates the need to secure a casino location and deal with taxes, employees and food and beverages issues.

Establish a business identity and follow the same protocols for gaming licenses and state gambling restrictions. Online businesses are still required to have a tax ID and the required permits or licenses. An Internet casino is also subject to the same federal and state-specific gaming rules as physical a casino.

Purchase or license casino software. The investment in an online casino may be smaller than most physical casinos, but the figures could still range from £65,000 to as much as £650,000 depending on the software licensing agreement.

Things You'll Need

  • Business license
  • Gaming license
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About the Author

Sara Melone is a mother of three and a graduate of UNH. With prior careers in insurance and finance, photography, as well as certifications in fitness and nutrition, Melone draws directly from past experience and varying interests. She contributes with equal passion to birth journals, investment blogs, and self-help websites.