Urban casinos impact on architectural environment guide, Gambling buildings, Gaming architecture layouts

Urban Casinos and Their Impact on the Architectural Environment

22 April 2024

Urban casinos have shaped the landscapes of some of the biggest gambling Meccas, such as Las Vegas and Macau. Their impact on the architecture of their environment is more than obvious, but even when it comes to less ritzy establishments, casinos leave a mark. While some praise them for adding unique, purposeful features to squares and streets, others think they dominate the skylines and add unnecessary elements of kitsch.

As always, the truth is somewhere between. In this essay, we discuss how urban casinos affect the architectural environment.

Urban casinos impact on architectural environment

The Importance of Cultural and Historical Context

Many opponents of urban casinos like to say that gambling venues overshadow cultural heritage, without bringing any additional value. And while that may be true in some cases, there are also situations where casinos perfectly blend with the history of the place and even enhance it.

The best example thereof is the legendary Casino Estoril on the Portuguese Riviera. The establishment, which served as the backdrop to the 1969 James Bond flick On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, features modernist architecture and a highly curated park in front of the building that dominates the city’s landscape. Open since 1916, this casino has not only its place in pop culture but also the world’s history, as it was the hotspot for international espionage during WW2. Today, its parks attract tourists and locals alike, while its architecture perfectly blends with other architectural styles in the municipality of Cascais.

Economic Impact on Surrounding Neighbourhoods

The economic impact of urban casinos can reflect on their surrounding neighbours in more than one way. The most obvious one is that they bring new business, and along with it, new visual identities. The increased foot traffic in certain areas may encourage other business owners to embrace new ideas and fixes that have been long overdue.

While some players may choose to play their games online, such as those available at https://gryonline2.pl/automaty-za-darmo/, those who are into the classic casino experience can help small businesses flourish. Land-based gambling venues in urban areas have the power to transform entire building blocks, parks, and squares.

James Swift, a casino architect working in Vegas, explains that new casino businesses are often the starting point that incites renovations, adaptations and infrastructure, especially in areas that haven’t been on the list of priorities with local authorities.

Public Space and Functionality

Casinos are private-owned businesses and, as such, have little to do with the development of public spaces. Even so, there are occasions when they can be beneficial for the general public.

The best example is native casinos, flourishing across the USA. A study by William N. Evans

and Julie H. Topoleski claims that Native communities who run casinos experience:

  • 11.5% population increase;
  • 26% increase in employment;
  • 14% decline in the number of working poor.

How does this reflect on public spaces and their functionality? The math is simple: the richer the community, the more money will be available for aesthetic purposes, such as developing infrastructure for people with disabilities, parks, recreational centres and others. The more money the locals spend on businesses in their community, the higher the chances they will expand and keep the streets alive and thriving.

Casinos Lead in Sustainability Practices

Sustainability is the big buzzword of the decade, and for many urban casinos, it is more than empty phrases and greenwashing. To the surprise of many, it is casinos that often take the lead in the so-called green practices.

Solar panels on their roofs, the use of LED instead of traditional lights, using local ingredients in casino kitchens and responsible management of food waste, water conservation strategies, and recycling are a must.

Despite all this, the opponents claim that there is one thing urban casinos can’t seem to help: light pollution. Light pollution affects wildlife, the visibility of stars and galaxies, and the production of hormones in humans.

The Luxor Hotel and Casino

Future Trends in Online Casinos

As local authorities are becoming aware of the fact urban casinos are here to stay, they do everything in their power to help them blend with the existing infrastructure, instead of allowing them to dominate the landscape. Just like in the case of Casino Estoril, operators now have to assimilate and provide added value to the community, or they risk to face the anger of locals who don’t want to live in a smaller version of Vegas.

Also, more often than ever, they are forced to adapt to the latest eco-friendly policies. The days of flashy Las Vegas-style casinos will soon be gone forever. Even the famous Bellagio fountain had to be shut down after a rare bird was spotted nearby.

To become accepted by the community, casinos must encourage sustainable development, not overpower the existing heritage and find a way to support progress, rather than just profits.

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