Whether you spin the slots, pull the lever on a video poker machine or toss the dice in craps, casinos offer plenty of ways to satisfy your gambling cravings. They’re staffed by people to serve you drinks and snacks, and most have loud, exciting music. Some even have dazzling lights and architecture designed to appeal to the senses.
Casinos make money by charging patrons for the privilege of gambling. Each game has a built in advantage for the casino, which can be as low as two percent but adds up over time. This is known as the vig or rake. In the modern world casinos also collect a substantial share of their profits from high rollers. These are gamblers who place large wagers, which may be in the tens of thousands of dollars. For their loyalty, high rollers are often given free spectacular entertainment, transportation and luxury living quarters.
Something about gambling (perhaps the presence of huge amounts of money) seems to encourage cheating, stealing and scamming. As a result casinos spend an enormous amount of time and money on security. Casino workers keep an eye on everyone in the building and are trained to spot blatant signs of cheating, such as palming or marking cards. Casinos also employ pit bosses and table managers to watch over table games with a broader view of patrons, looking for shady betting patterns that may indicate cheating.
Casinos are found in most countries of the world. They’re most prominent in cities and towns that have a strong tourist industry, such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City. But they also exist on American Indian reservations and other places that do not have strict state antigambling laws.