Casinos are like indoor amusement parks for adults, with most of the entertainment (and profit) coming from gambling. Musical shows, shopping centers, lavish hotels and elaborate themes all help to draw in the crowds, but casinos would not exist without games of chance – slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and more. It is these games that give casinos their name, and they are the ones that provide the billions of dollars in profits raked in by U.S. casinos each year.
While gambling probably predates recorded history, the modern casino as a place to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century. At that time, a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian aristocrats met in private clubs called ridotti to gamble. The casino as we know it today developed as a result of these clubs and later became a common feature in many European cities.
A casino’s security measures start on the floor, where employees keep their eyes peeled for blatant cheating, such as palming dice or marking cards. They also watch for stealing from other patrons or suspicious betting patterns. Casinos also employ a number of sophisticated surveillance systems, with cameras watching every table, window and doorway. The images can be zoomed in on and adjusted by staff in a room filled with banks of security monitors.
Casinos also employ comp programs that reward frequent patrons with coupons for free or discounted food, drinks or tickets to shows and other events. They rely on these programs to generate positive press and attract new customers. They encourage social media sharing of pictures and videos of lucky winners to boost publicity.