Looking For the Closest Casino


The New York Times covered casinos in the Northeast and noted that more than half of the population is within 25 miles of a casino. Naturally, I wondered what it is like in other parts of the country, so I sampled uniformly across the United States looking for the nearest casino. The results are shown in the map above.

Using the Google Places API, I took about 7,500 samples in twenty-mile increments, east to west and north to south. Of those samples, 36 percent of them are 25 miles or less from a casino.

This is significantly lower than the Northeast’s 50 percent mark, but keep in mind that the sample also includes uninhabited areas. Lots of deserts and mountains. So the national percentage for population is likely higher. After all, some 80 percent of the country’s population lives in urban areas.

However, it’s tough to say what the actual percentage is based on this data. Google classifies places as casinos based on their own criteria, and not everything is an actual casino by a legal definition. For example, there’s one Utah casino location in my sample, but gambling is illegal in the state, and there are no Indian reservation casinos. This particular place is a poker party business.

So think estimate rather than concrete count.

But, speaking of reservations, also of note: how this map coincides with Indian reservations, especially in the west.

Indian reservations

In any case, if you’re in the mood to lose money, alongside a three-dollar prime rib dinner, it’s likely you’re not too far off.

Become a member. Learn to visualize data. From beginner to advanced.

Join Today

Membership

This is for people interested in the process of creating, designing, and exploring data graphics. Your support goes directly to FlowingData, an independently run site.

What You Get

  • Instant access to tutorials on how to make and design data graphics
  • Source code and files to use with your own data
  • In-depth courses on visualization in R
  • Hand-picked links and resources from around the web
  • Members-only newsletter

Favorites

Reviving the Statistical Atlas of the United States with New Data

Due to budget cuts, there is no plan for an updated atlas. So I recreated the original 1870 Atlas using today’s publicly available data.

Best Data Visualization Projects of 2016

Here are my favorites for the year.

Where Bars Outnumber Grocery Stores

A closer look at the age old question of where there are more bars than grocery stores, and vice versa.

Pizza Place Geography

Most of the major pizza chains are within a 5-mile …