Gambling at a Casino


A casino, as the name suggests, is a place where people gamble. It may have a show or other attractions, but the vast bulk of its profits come from games of chance like slots, blackjack, baccarat and roulette. Musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers may attract customers, but the casinos would not exist without these games of chance.

Unlike other games of chance, which usually have some element of skill, most casino games have mathematically determined odds that ensure the house will always win. This advantage, which can be described as the expected value of a game, or its “house edge,” makes casino gambling profitable for the owners. In games such as poker where patrons play each other, the casino makes its profit by taking a share of each pot or charging an hourly fee to patrons who wish to participate in the game.

Because of this virtual assurance of gross profit, it is very rare for a casino to lose money on any day’s gambling operations. This virtually guarantees that the casinos will pay big bettors extravagant inducements, such as free spectacular entertainment, reduced-fare transportation and elegant living quarters. Modern casinos also employ specialized surveillance departments, with cameras that monitor every table, window and doorway. In the most advanced systems, they are wired to a central computer that enables security workers to instantly discover statistical deviations in the expected results of any game.