A casino is an entertainment complex that offers gamblers a wide variety of games of chance, including slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat. Besides these games, casinos feature live music, shows, top-notch hotels and restaurants. But the bulk of a casino’s profits comes from gambling. This article explores the history of casinos, how they make their money, what you can expect to see when visiting a casino and the dark side of the business.
The modern casino is more like an indoor amusement park than a traditional gambling establishment. Musical shows, dazzling fountains, shopping centers and elaborate themes help attract customers, but the vast majority of a casino’s profits come from gaming. Slot machines, keno and video poker account for the largest percentage of a casino’s income, followed by black jack, roulette and craps. Craps, in particular, is an extremely popular game in American casinos, which reduce their house edge to less than 1 percent to entice players.
While some games require considerable skill, the vast majority of casino games are based on pure chance and are played for a predetermined amount of money. Because so much currency is handled within a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with each other or independently. To discourage such behavior, most casinos employ a variety of security measures. In addition to cameras, some have catwalks in the ceiling that allow surveillance personnel to look down at the tables and slots through one-way glass.