A casino is a place for gambling, and while musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels help draw people in, casinos would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat generate the billions in profits that help make casinos a major source of entertainment. Each of these games has a built-in advantage for the casino that can be very small, less than two percent, but it adds up over time.
Until recently, all the casinos in the United States were located in Nevada, but as state governments realized that visitors spent money on things other than gambling, they began opening legalized casinos elsewhere in the country. The first were “riverboat” casinos in Iowa, followed by Atlantic City, and then a proliferation of Native American casinos across the country.
Because of the large amounts of money involved, a casino must spend a lot on security. Some gamblers are tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with fellow players or on their own, and the casinos have to take measures to prevent this. Security cameras, a highly trained staff and tight rules of conduct are all important.
Casinos must also concentrate on customer service. They provide perks designed to encourage gamblers to spend more money, such as deeply discounted travel packages, free buffets and show tickets. They also give high rollers special attention, with comps worth tens of thousands of dollars, and they have rooms separate from the main casino where gamblers can play for higher stakes.