The Casino Business

A casino is an entertainment center with games of chance and a range of other attractions, like a shopping mall, show, and hotel. While flashy lights, music, a wide variety of table and slot games, and themed restaurants add to the allure of a casino, most of the billions of dollars in profits are generated by gambling games themselves.

Gambling certainly predates recorded history, with primitive proto-dice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological digs. But the modern casino as a place where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not emerge until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian aristocrats began to hold private parties at places called ridotti [Source: Schwartz].

While restaurants, hotel rooms, and entertainment events help attract customers to casinos, the vast majority of their revenue still comes from the millions of bets placed by players each year on games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, poker, keno and craps are the mainstays of the casino business.

While many people dream of winning the big jackpot at a casino, most players are just looking for an afternoon or evening of fun and excitement. But even though casinos can be dangerous, they are designed to protect their patrons with a combination of technology and human surveillance. Casinos also have rules and policies in place to keep their games fair, and security personnel patrol the floor constantly. There are even catwalks in the ceiling above the gaming floors that allow surveillance personnel to look down on the tables and slots through one-way glass.