Unlike your grandmother’s weekend trips to the local bowling alley, modern casino establishments feature high-end restaurants and entertainment. They also house a wide variety of games of chance, such as slots, roulette, blackjack, craps, keno and baccarat. These games, along with the billions of dollars that patrons place bets on them, provide the profit that keeps casinos afloat.
Although casino luxuries, such as musical shows and lighted fountains, help draw in the crowds, these establishments would not exist without games of chance. Even though the odds of winning in a casino are low, there is a built in statistical advantage for the house—often called the vig or rake.
Because of the large amounts of money handled by a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with each other or independently. In order to prevent this, casinos employ security measures such as cameras and other technological devices.
In addition to security measures, casinos focus on customer service. They offer a range of incentives designed to encourage gamblers to spend more, including free food and drinks, hotel rooms and transportation. High rollers are often rewarded with free extravagant entertainment, luxury suites and lavish personal attention.
While the mob once controlled many casinos, real estate investors and hotel chains soon realized the potential profits. They bought out the mobsters and began running their own casinos. Today, federal crackdowns on even the smallest hint of mafia involvement means that legitimate businesses have the upper hand.