At the end of 2015, New York approved licenses for three large-scale casino resorts across the state. At least one -- the Montreign in the Catskills, with an 80,000 square-foot-casino floor, luxury hotel rooms, gourmet restaurants, and a spa -- is already under construction.
And New York isn't alone.
Casino gambling remains heavily restricted in the United States -- regulated on the state level (and on Indian reservations). Currently, 40 states have casinos, including eight that have legalized since 2000, according to the American Gaming Association.
Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the states that are emerging as gambling destinations in the Northeast, according to The New York Times. Ohio and Kansas have stormed into the game in the Midwest, and in the southern half of the country, established casino strips that are expanding like kudzu. Biloxi, MS, just added the Scarlet Pearl, a massive casino resort.
Fair enough. A weekend at the casino, especially one of the newer ones with great entertainment options (hey, is David Copperfield still around?) might sound fab. But would having a casino near your home be a good or bad thing? Let's take a look.
It isn't all about gambling
Casinos bring slot machines and gaming tables, and if that's your thing, who are we to tell you not to let it ride? But what if it isn't your thing?
Even if you don't like gambling, you may find something to love about the casino lifestyle. Modern resorts include everything from spas, to five-star dining, to miniature golf courses to professional clown schools (actually, we made that last one up). And they're increasingly reaching out to young families with attractions like arcades or bowling alleys.
"New casinos are essentially shopping malls with slot machines," says Robert Vinson, founder of the Vinson Real Estate Group in Los Angeles.
Sound good to you? If you're considering buying into a smaller area without a lot to do, a resort can be a huge boon for your local entertainment choices.
Your house may be cheaper…
And you might be able to find something within your budget to boot.
Sure, lots of casino towns boast luxury condos with ocean views and mega-mansions on the outskirts of the strip. But if you're willing to compromise, you can score a deal.
"The houses right by the casino probably do come in at a little cheaper price per square foot, because of being so close," says Summer Davis Inman, casino-area relocation specialist with Coldwell Banker in Gulfport, MS. According to the National Association of Realtors, having a casino (or several) nearby can drop home prices 2% to 10%. Great for buyers! Not so great for sellers.
…and easier to rent
Somewhere down the line, if you decide to rent out your home -- or if you have an extra room and want to go the Airbnb route -- the casino might help you. A lot.
"Any major events that happen in our area, like Crusin' the Coast, bring in a ton of people," Inman says."All the hotels and casinos are completely booked out."
And the overflow is going to look for alternative places to stay, like your awesome Airbnb pad.
Plus, casinos often bring in jobs and renters who take those jobs will be looking for an easy location where they can bike or walk to work, Inman says.
Traffic won't be easy
When it comes to casino towns, town or city planning commissions often try to give the locals a break. Routes to and from the casino are planned out. Lights are installed. Overflow parking lots are built.
But it isn't always enough. Odds are, especially during popular vacation seasons like spring and summer, you're going to deal with traffic. Sometimes a lot of traffic.
"Casinos are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all the time. If you don't want to be near that traffic, don't choose that location," Inman says.
And things may be worse when the casino hosts special events. If it's hosting a classic car show or Beyonc is in town, you can expect gridlock.
There is (some) noise
Of course, living near a casino is going to be louder than living in a quiet rural town. But it may not be as noisy as you think.
"Unless casino operators are trying to draw attention with outdoor light and water shows or a volcano, most noise is contained inside the gambling halls," Vinson says.
The exception being conventions; think -- crowds gathered outside = noise when you're trying to catch some z's.
The best way to tell if it will work for you: Try staying at a nearby Airbnb or at the casino hotel during a convention or tourist season. Walk around outside frequently and make a note of the noise level at different times.
And then there was light
Casinos may do what they can to shelter locals from the noise, but they don't do much about the lights. Many casinos are brilliantly lit up -- which looks super cool unless that light is filtering directly into your living room while you're trying to binge-watch "Game of Thrones."
If your home directly faces the casino, you'll have to take preventive measures to keep the light out. Or you could opt for a home behind a casino, but that has its own challenges.
"If you're adjacent to the rear, you will probably be subjected to the 24-hour toil of the loading docks receiving deliveries and noisy garbage trucks," Vinson says.
So, what are the odds that near-casino living is in the cards for you? And more to the point: Are you willing to take a roll of the dice? Your call.