What Is a Casino?
A casino is a place where people can play games of chance and win money. It has a lot of other amenities like restaurants, free drinks and stage shows but the vast majority of its profits are from gambling. Some people might consider a casino to be an entertainment destination, but the truth is that it would not exist without games of chance. The profits from slot machines, blackjack, roulette, poker, keno and other table games provide the billions of dollars that casinos rake in each year.
The concept of casinos grew out of the need for an establishment where patrons could find all sorts of gambling activities under one roof. Gambling itself probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. The modern casino, however, took off in the 16th century as a gambling craze swept Europe. Nobles of Italy used to gather in private places known as ridotti to gamble and socialize [Source: Schwartz].
Gambling has always been a popular form of entertainment, and the casino as a modern entertainment venue combines all of the most popular gambling activities under one roof. Although casinos have become more luxurious over the years and now include restaurants, shopping centers and a variety of other amenities, they remain gambling venues at heart. The modern casino focuses on providing the best possible gaming experience and the latest technological innovations ensure that players are safe from any cheating or fraud.
Security starts on the casino floor, where staff members constantly patrol tables to make sure that patrons aren’t trying to manipulate the games or cheat. Each table game has a pit boss or manager who supervises the workers and watches for any betting patterns that might indicate cheating. In addition to these people, surveillance cameras provide a high-tech eye-in-the-sky view of the entire casino and can be directed at specific suspicious patrons.
Casinos also employ a number of other technologies to monitor their patrons’ behavior and the actual games themselves. In one example, chips with built-in microcircuitry are monitored minute-by-minute to make sure that they correspond with the expected payouts; the resulting data can be instantly compared against computer simulations to discover any deviations. Roulette wheels are regularly electronically monitored for any signs of abnormality, and the outcomes of card games are compared to those in a database to make sure that cards haven’t been tampered with or moved during play.
Casinos often reward loyal players with comps, which are free goods or services. These can be as simple as free hotel rooms and dinners or limo service and airline tickets. Most of these are based on how much a player spends and how long they play. Many casinos also have a dedicated staff that manages their comp programs, so it’s important to ask a casino employee how to sign up.