How to Open a Casino – Start Your Own Operation
Last Updated: April 4, 2022
How to Open a Casino – Start Your Own Operation
If you’re an avid gambler and passionately enjoy this branch of the entertainment industry, you might have thought about opening a casino as a viable business option.
Owning and operating a casino can be a very lucrative business, but there are many things you need to check and put in place before you can actually open a casino.
In this guide, we’ll equip you with all of the information you need to know so that you can start your own casino.
How to Open a Casino – Legal Prerequisites
Before you even start thinking about the business and marketing sides of your casino, you need to consider the legal aspects of opening a casino in the location of your choice. When it comes to this, there are several key things you need to check:
Legal Regulation in Your Country
Needless to say, the first thing you need to tick on your to-do list is to make sure that you can legally open a casino in your location.
In some countries, anyone can freely open a casino if they have the money for it, while in others, doing so can lead to hefty fines and even prison.
Moreover, in some countries around the world, regulation can vary from state to state.
The US is the perfect example of this, as you can find states where gambling is completely legal neighboring other states where gambling activities are prohibited by law or only legal in a specific capacity.
Operating legally is essential if you want to avoid any trouble with the law once you open your casino.
And, when talking about legal regulation and different laws you need to pay attention to, there are a few additional crucial aspects to be certain of:
Legal Gambling Age
After you’ve familiarized yourself with the legal regulations in your location and learned all of the requirements and stipulations for legally operating a casino, you should check the legal gambling age restrictions.
The legal gambling age differs in many countries worldwide but will most likely be set at 18 or 21 years of age in your location.
As a casino operator, you’re not only responsible for ensuring your customers get the best gambling experience.
You also need to make sure that they have the necessary tools for self-exclusion if they find this necessary.
You need to keep in touch with self-exclusion laws in your country and temporarily or permanently exclude players who feel like they’re struggling with gambling addiction.
Legal Drinking Age
The last aspect concerning the legal part of the process, this isn’t directly tied to gambling activities, but we all know that alcohol and casinos go hand-in-hand.
So, if you want to serve alcohol to your customers, you need to ensure you comply with the legal drinking age in your location and have the appropriate license to match.
We say this because sometimes countries can have differing regulations on this, usually with legal drinking age limits set at 18 or 21 years of age.
Moreover, in certain locations, it’s not permitted to serve alcohol during a specific time of day or night.
How Much Does a Casino Cost?
While the exact amount will depend on your location, you’ll be surprised at how much money you’ll need to start a casino.
A conservative amount that will have you covered in most locations worldwide is anywhere from a couple of million dollars up to several dozen million or more.
This seems like an unrealistic amount, but when you break down everything you need to pay for, the numbers can add up.
For instance, you’ll need to pay quite a bit for the casino license and all other additional costs that go with it.
Additionally, arguably the most significant cost will be the one for purchasing the property you want to build the casino on or buying a building you’ll have to revamp before opening a casino.
Of course, you can avoid the issue of funding all of this on your own by getting starting capital from an interested investor or getting a loan from a bank.
Depending on your business model and how you want to repay the loan, you can offer investors a part of your business or pay back the money in fixed increments over time.
This requires a lot of thought, as giving investors a part of your business is a cheap way to get started without paying anything back right away.
But, if your casino becomes very successful and the investors end up raking in a lot of money, the overall amount of money you’ll miss out on can be far greater than what you would pay back through a loan.
Lastly, you also need to have money available on hand to pay out any large jackpot wins without going bankrupt.
These operating costs can be as high as the cost of opening the casino itself. When it comes to this, you should have as much cash available as you have casino chips at your venue.
Again, this can vary depending on the size of your casino. But, even if you have a fairly small casino, you should have at least fifteen to twenty million dollars available at any time.
Most casino operators stick to the principle of having enough cash available on hand to cover the value of all of the chips on hand.
Opening a Casino – Everything You Need to Plan For
To give your future casino the best chances of surviving and thriving on the market, you need to prepare for every planned and unplanned occurrence.
This includes a lot of calculation and planning, so you can even hire a professional consultant that would help you ensure you don’t overlook any significant aspects of the planning process.
Keeping that in mind, here’s everything you need to account for when opening a casino:
Find the Right Location
Location often plays a massive part in determining how successful a casino is. If you pick the wrong location, people will simply avoid coming to your casino, no matter how much effort you put into setting it up.
A good location is advertising on its own and will automatically draw in potential gamblers to your venue.
Preferably, the location of your choice should be in an easily accessible part of town, near public transportation, and a big boulevard that hosts many other consumer businesses and services.
In line with this, you’ll have two options when opening a casino. This is to build it from scratch or purchase/rent an existing venue you will have to reconstruct before opening your casino.
In both cases, you’ll need the right permits and will have to clear a number of safety and security requirements before opening.
Purchase the Equipment and Games
The games are the main attraction of your casino, so you want to make sure you have a good variation of all of the popular casino games your customers can choose from.
If you have a fairly small venue, prioritize slots, as they are undoubtedly the most popular casino game in the world. Focus on some big-name brand titles that would attract players chasing big jackpot wins.
If you have space for a few pits, consider including blackjack and roulette tables as your first choices. Likewise, a poker room can be a great addition to any medium-to-large casino.
Insurance is one aspect you never want to cut costs on when budgeting your casino expenses.
As a casino, especially one serving drinks, you’re providing your service to people from all walks of life, so there’s no telling what could happen on any given night.
Incidents can occur from time to time, and the casino can get sued. So, you want a strong insurance policy you can rely on in any scenario.
Create an Exciting Marketing Campaign
Once you have everything set up and prepared for your casino’s opening, all that’s left is to create a marketing campaign that will bring people to your venue.
Marketing can help get your business off the ground and position your brand for years to come.
When creating a marketing strategy, you should prepare both a pre-launch plan and a launch campaign.
For example, as your pre-launch campaign, you want to spread awareness of your casino opening up soon.
For the launch campaign, you need to advertise on as many media and social channels to ensure you reach the most potential visitors.
Once you start operating, you can introduce promotional offers and bonus deals. Ideally, you want to create loyal customers out of your visitors, as this is much more profitable than trying to attract new visitors constantly.
To do so, you can offer comps and various bonuses that would be available to players who spend a certain amount of money or visit your casino regularly.
Prepare for Upfront Costs
Many new and inexperienced operators often ignore the toll employee payroll can have on their budget, especially in the first few months and years.
While casinos are much more automated and less labor-intensive than in the past, they still require quite a few employees to run the best that they can.
In other words, payroll still ranks very high among the biggest expenses for every casino. Because of this, you should make sure that you have enough money to cover your casino employees’ salaries.
This includes the main staff, but also other divisions like property maintenance, security, and others.
Additionally, as you’ll have to advertise quite heavily during the early period, you should set aside enough funds to cover promotional expenses not just for the opening but for months to come after that.
In some cases, marketing expenses could make up to fifty percent of your overall costs during the initial period.
How Much Can I Earn From Owning a Casino?
The figures you can earn as a casino operator can vary based on your location and the size of your casino.
For instance, if you own a relatively big casino in a good location with a lot of visitors, you can expect to rake in a couple of million dollars per day.
Keep in mind, developing such popularity and profitability often takes years. And, because every casino is different, there isn’t a universal answer that you can go by.
That said, you shouldn’t expect this amount of money to come in every day of every week.
Gambling is variable for both the players and the operator. Sometimes, you’ll generate high income, but you’ll also have bad days in which you’ll see little profit or even be in the red.
Because of this, the number we’ve mentioned above is the daily average throughout the year.
Casinos generally earn most of their profits during the big holidays or special events like sports tournaments and live shows if they’re in a particular location.
Keeping track of your profits, losses, and the bottom line can be stressful. This is why we advise you to follow the steps of big casino executives.
Don’t set daily goals for your profits. Instead, focus on long-term numbers to assess how your casino is doing and whether you need to tweak your business.
Is it Better to Buy or Open a Casino?
The answer to this question primarily depends on your financial situation and your location. If you can find a well-known casino you can buy, revamp, and put back on the map, this is the better choice.
On the other hand, if there aren’t any casinos in your location, or if purchasing a casino is out of your budget, a much smarter choice is to open a casino from scratch.
How to Start a Casino – Summing It Up
As you can see from all of the aspects we’ve listed and discussed in this guide, opening a casino is a very demanding process that takes a lot of finances, effort, and patience.
That said, with a proper plan you can go by, it doesn’t have to be overly complicated.
Of course, it’s no secret that owning a casino can be a very profitable venture. On the other hand, just like any undertaking of such momentous size, there’s always a risk of going out of business.
And, considering how much money you need to invest into opening a casino, this is a risk you have to pay a lot of attention to.
With that in mind, if you’re ready to plan everything and take up this risk, the moneymaking possibilities you’ll have as a casino operator are truly fantastic!