The Casino Business is Much More Than Just a Place to Gamble
The word casino can evoke images of flashing lights and big crowds, but the modern casino is much more than a place to gamble. It’s a complex and profitable business that generates billions of dollars for the casinos, their owners, investors, and employees—as well as local governments and Native American tribes that benefit from gambling revenues.
Gambling activities occur in everything from massive resorts to small card rooms and even on boats and barges on waterways. Many states have legalized casino-type games in the form of slot machines and table games, which are often combined into “racinos” at racetracks. In some cases, a private company operates the casino while a state’s gaming commission regulates and oversees it.
Most successful casinos make money by offering their patrons a virtual guarantee of gross profit—known as the house edge. This advantage, which varies from game to game, is the difference between the expected value of a bet and the amount wagered. This ensures that a casino will always break even or make a small profit on all bets. It also ensures that the casino will not lose more than it can afford to pay out.
Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with each other or independently; thus, most casinos have extensive security measures. Security cameras are the most obvious and most common measure, but there are also rules about how players should behave and how cards must be dealt. In addition, most casinos offer comps to loyal patrons, which can include free hotel rooms, meals, shows, and limo service.