Despite the flashy hotel, restaurants, shows and shopping centers they’re known for, casinos primarily make their money from gambling. Games of chance such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and craps provide the billions in profits that casinos rake in every year. This article takes a closer look at how casinos make their money, some of the tricks they employ to keep gamblers playing longer and losing more, the history behind casino games and some of the dark side of this profitable business.
Modern casinos use a variety of technology to ensure that games are conducted fairly and without cheating. For example, in the table game of poker, a high-ranking official monitors each player to spot any suspicious behavior; roulette wheels are electronically monitored minute by minute to detect any statistical deviation from expected results; and casino staff have catwalks that allow them to peer down on the activities of gamblers through one-way glass. In addition to these general security measures, most casinos employ sophisticated software and cameras to track patterns of play, identify suspicious betting activity and identify winners and losers.
Casinos are located all over the world and have become a major source of income for many states and countries. They have even spread to American Indian reservations, which are exempt from state anti-gambling laws. Nevertheless, some economists contend that casinos have a negative impact on local economies, drawing people away from other forms of entertainment and driving up the cost of treating problem gambling.