A casino is a place where people go to gamble. It has games of chance, like poker and blackjack, as well as other types of entertainment. It’s the gambling that draws most of the attention, though, and earns casinos billions in profits every year.
Those billions of dollars come from the simple fact that every casino game has a built-in statistical advantage for the house. This edge can be quite small, but it adds up over millions of bets.
To offset this edge, casinos rely on sophisticated technology to prevent cheating and other irregularities. Security cameras that watch tables and other areas are a standard feature, but the most advanced systems provide a high-tech “eye in the sky.” Computers monitor betting chips with microcircuitry, oversee roulette wheels electronically and alert staff to any statistical deviation from expected results.
Most casinos also reward regular patrons with free rooms, meals and tickets to shows. These rewards are known as comps, and they can even extend to limo service and airline tickets for large spenders. The casino industry is booming and new ones are opening all the time, particularly in China where Macau tops the list of the world’s best casinos.
It wasn’t always this way, though. Until the 1980s, most American states had laws against casinos. Then they started appearing on Indian reservations, which were exempt from state antigambling statutes. Eventually, they popped up in Las Vegas and other cities. Now there are casinos in nearly every state and many countries around the globe.