The word “casino” might bring to mind flashy Vegas megaresorts, but gambling establishments come in all shapes and sizes. Even your grandmother might take weekend bus trips to the local casino with friends. While most casinos feature luxuries like restaurants, free drinks and stage shows, the underlying business model is all about making money through the house edge, or built-in statistical advantage that allows the casino to win over time.
Gambling in the United States and throughout the world is regulated at the state level, with some exceptions. The state of Nevada has been the largest center of casino activity, followed by Atlantic City and New Jersey. However, as the popularity of the games has grown, other areas have opened their own casinos. Native American gaming has also become a significant driver of the industry in some states.
Keeping patrons happy is essential to a casino’s success, so many places offer free food and drink and give players comps based on their amount of play. While this might make some gamblers feel more comfortable, it doesn’t reduce the house edge. Using chips instead of real cash is another way casinos try to soften the blow of losing bets by making it harder for gamblers to see how much they’re actually losing.
A casino might also have sophisticated technology to help detect cheating and theft. For example, cameras are often mounted in the ceiling to provide a high-tech eye-in-the-sky that can be adjusted to zoom in on suspicious patrons; roulette wheels are electronically monitored to ensure they’re within an acceptable range of expected outcomes.