A Closer Look at Casinos


Casino is the modern word for an establishment where people can play a variety of gambling games. While lighted fountains, musical shows and shopping centers help bring in the crowds, the billions of dollars that casinos rake in each year are the result of a handful of popular games of chance such as slots, roulette, blackjack, baccarat and craps. This article takes a closer look at the many aspects of casinos, including how they make their money, what kinds of games are played, how patrons get treated and the dark side of the business.

The concept of a place for gamblers to find a variety of ways to wager under one roof dates back centuries, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in the most ancient archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. But the term casino was not coined until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian aristocrats gathered in private clubs called ridotti to gamble and socialize. The name stuck, and the casino was born.

In the modern era, casino gaming has grown into a major international industry that includes more than 3,000 establishments worldwide. Besides land-based casinos, there are also cruise ships and riverboats that carry players to various gambling venues. Casinos are also found on American Indian reservations, where state laws regarding gaming are less restrictive. In the United States, casinos have flourished in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, and are now located throughout the country.

There is a lot of money to be made in the casino business, but there is also a lot that can go wrong. Like any other business, a casino has to pay its bills and make a profit to stay in business. This profit is known as the house edge, and it is built into every game offered in a casino. As a result, it is very rare for a casino to lose money on a single day of gaming.

Keeping track of the money is an important aspect of casino security. Casinos monitor patrons for signs of cheating, and they often have cameras that can cover entire rooms at once. These high-tech “eyes-in-the-sky” can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of security monitors.

Casinos also rely on comps, or complimentary goods and services, to reward loyal customers. These can include free drinks while gambling, hotel rooms, tickets to shows or even limo service and airline tickets for big spenders. Patrons can ask a casino employee or the information desk how to get their play rated for comps.

Whether they are a fan of gambling or not, most people agree that it can be a lot of fun. The best places to visit for a casino vacation depend on what kind of gaming you enjoy. Fortunately, there are plenty of options in the world to please almost anyone. So pack your bags and head to the nearest casino for some good times!