Casino is a popular place for people to gamble and play games of chance. It can be very addictive and expensive for those who are not careful with how much money they spend. It also affects the local economy and property values.
In recent years casinos have become very technologically advanced. They use video cameras and computers to monitor and supervise games and players. For example, chip tracking allows casinos to oversee the exact amounts of money wagered minute by minute and warn them immediately if there is an anomaly; roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly so that any statistical deviation will quickly be discovered.
Another way that casinos make money is by giving players comps (complimentary items) such as free or discounted drinks and meals, shows, etc. Players can earn points by playing certain games, which the casino tracks on a special card. These cards are similar to airline frequent flyer programs and they allow the casino to build up a database of patron information that can be used for marketing purposes.
Something about gambling (probably the fact that it involves large amounts of money) encourages some people to cheat or steal their way into a jackpot instead of waiting for pure luck. This is why casinos spend a large amount of time and money on security.
The first step in casino security is vigilance by employees. Dealers are intensely focused on their game and can easily spot blatant cheating such as palming, marking or switching cards or dice. Table managers and pit bosses keep a close eye on the games, ensuring that patrons are not stealing chips from one another or betting patterns that might signal cheating.
During the 1950s, casino owners sought funds to finance expansion and renovation in hopes of attracting more Americans to Reno and Las Vegas. Legitimate businessmen were reluctant to invest in casinos because of their taint of “vice,” but organized crime figures had plenty of cash from their illegal drug dealing and extortion rackets, so they became sole or partial owners of casinos in the cities.
In the twentieth century, casinos became choosier about who they let in and specialized in high-roller gamblers. High rollers were given rooms away from the main floor and could gamble with tens of thousands of dollars at a time. They were also given generous comps to encourage them to gamble.
The average casino patron in 2005 was a forty-six-year-old female from a household with above-average income. They played the most common casino games, including poker, blackjack, and craps. Other popular games include roulette and slot machines, both of which have a relatively low house edge-1.4 percent or less. The house edge is the casino’s profit on each bet, which it gets by paying out winning bets and collecting a percentage of the losing bets. The house edge varies by country, with casinos in France offering lower edges than those in America.