When most people think of casino, they imagine one of the giant megaresorts in Las Vegas – a place with hotel rooms, restaurants, shopping, stage shows and glitzy games. But casinos can also be found in more modest venues. The most important thing is that they offer gambling. And there are plenty of ways to gamble, from poker and blackjack to slots and roulette.
There is, however, a dark side to the business of casinos. Every casino game has a built in statistical advantage for the house – which, over time and the millions of bets placed by patrons, can add up to a substantial amount of money. This edge can be lower than two percent, but it’s enough to keep casinos afloat and allow them to build elaborate fountains, towers and replicas of famous landmarks.
Gambling has been a part of human culture for millennia, from the Mesopotamian cities to Elizabethan England and Napoleon’s France. Today, casinos are a worldwide phenomenon, with their glamorous rooms offering a variety of games of chance and live entertainment.
But how do they make their money? A casino’s profits come from a variety of sources, but the primary income is from table and slot machines. Often, a casino can increase the payout of a machine by adjusting the computer chips inside it. Hence the “house edge.” The Bellagio’s fountains, for instance, are powered by casino revenues. The same can be said of the opulent spa town of Baden-Baden, which attracts European royalty and aristocracy with its elegant red-and-gold poker rooms and top-end roulette tables.