A casino is a building where people can gamble and play games of chance. Though musical shows, lighted fountains and elegant hotels help draw in the crowds, casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars in profit raked in each year by games like blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat.
Gambling likely predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice appearing in ancient archaeological sites. But the modern casino as a place for patrons to find many ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze spread across Europe.
Today, casino security begins on the floor, where pit bosses and table managers keep an eye out for suspicious behavior, like palming cards or marking dice. Then, high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” surveillance systems provide a comprehensive view of every table, window and doorway. Cameras can be adjusted to focus on particular suspect patrons by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of computer monitors.
Although most patrons know that a casino has a mathematical expectation of winning, it’s a rare occasion when a casino actually loses money on any game, even for just one day. With this virtual guarantee of gross profit, casinos offer big bettors extravagant inducements to play. These include free spectacular entertainment, luxury transportation and living quarters, reduced-fare airfare and hotel rooms. In addition, a casino’s profits are boosted by compulsive gambling, which is not restricted to its slot machines but includes other table games as well.