A casino is a place where people go to gamble, play games of chance and other activities. Casinos include games such as slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, craps, keno and poker that involve varying degrees of skill. While musical shows, lighted fountains and lavish hotels help attract people to casinos, the vast majority of their billions in profits come from gambling.
Gambling is a risky business. It’s no wonder that casinos spend a great deal of time, money and energy on security. Casino security starts on the floor, where dealers watch patrons closely to spot blatant cheating, including palming cards, marking or switching dice and making illegal bets. Pit bosses and table managers supervise with a broader view, monitoring tables to make sure players are placing bets that conform to established rules and watching for patterns that might signal collusion or other violations.
Most casino games have mathematically determined odds that give the house an advantage over the player, which is called the house edge. Some, like baccarat and trente et quarante, have a very low house edge, while others, such as roulette and slot machines, offer a much larger percentage.
During the 1990s, casinos dramatically increased their use of technology. Today, computer chips in betting chips monitor the exact amount a player bets minute-by-minute and warn when there’s a statistical deviation from expected results; specialized video cameras watch every game in action; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any anomaly quickly.