From Las Vegas mega-casinos to quaint seaside locales, the modern casino is more than just an indoor amusement park. While musical shows, lighted fountains, shops, hotels and restaurants help lure visitors in, the casino really is all about gambling. Games of chance such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat are what provides the billions in profits casinos rake in every year. This article will take a look at how casinos make their money, what the most popular games are and how to play them, what you can expect when visiting one, how casinos stay safe, and the dark side of this business.
The term “casino” comes from the Italian word for small house. In ancient Rome, a villa or summerhouse could be called a casino. Over time, this term came to be associated with all sorts of enjoyable activities, especially ones that involved a degree of skill, but mostly it meant gambling. This association is still the case today, as the modern casino is all about gambling and various games of chance.
In a real casino, you’ll find table games such as poker, baccarat and craps, along with electronic games such as keno and video poker. Many of these games have an element of skill, but in general the casino has a mathematical advantage over the players. This advantage is called the house edge. Some casino games require dealing by a live dealer, but most are played with pre-printed cards that are dealt electronically. In these games, the house takes a percentage of all winning bets, which is known as a vig or rake.
A casino also gives out complimentary items to its players. These are called comps and can include everything from free hotel rooms to free dinners or tickets to shows. The amount a player is eligible to receive depends on the amount of money they gamble and how often they play. If you’re a big spender, ask a casino host or casino information desk about getting on their comp list.
Because of the large amounts of cash handled within casinos, patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or on their own. To prevent this, most casinos employ a variety of security measures. Some of these include security cameras located throughout the facility, which are monitored by security personnel in a room filled with banks of monitors.
Although the casino industry was once dominated by mobster interests, federal crackdowns and the threat of losing a gaming license at even the slightest hint of mafia involvement have kept legitimate operators away from the business. However, the world’s best casinos have a variety of other attractions to keep their customers coming back, such as stunning decor and an enormous selection of games. Some, like the Baden-Baden Casino in Germany, are set in beautiful spa towns and have a high-class, elegant feel. Here, you’ll find lofty gold-trimmed ceilings adorned with crystal chandeliers and a dress code that forbids shorts or sneakers.