Casinos make billions of dollars each year for their owners, investors, corporations and Native American tribes. They also provide entertainment, jobs and tax revenue for cities, towns, counties and states. They range from Las Vegas-style megaresorts to small card rooms in taverns, racetracks and even truck stops. While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers help lure visitors, casinos would not exist without the games of chance that draw people in to gamble. The profits from slot machines, blackjack, roulette, poker and other table and machine games account for the vast majority of the billions a year that casinos bring in.
Casino gambling is different from other forms of gambling because it involves social interaction. Players interact directly with other gamblers at the table or are surrounded by people as they play slot machines. Players shout encouragement to each other or the dealer, and the atmosphere is one of noise, light and excitement. Casinos offer drinks, snacks and other amenities to encourage gambling.
CASINOS PERSUADE PEOPLE TO GAMBLE
To attract gamblers, casinos must offer a variety of games, high-quality hotels and restaurants, live entertainment and top-notch security. They also need to stay competitive with each other, especially when competing for a limited pool of wealthy people willing to spend money on gambling. For example, some casinos advertise that they will send a private jet to pick up a high roller and take them to the casino, while others offer free luxury suites.
During the 1990s, casinos dramatically increased their use of technology to monitor and supervise games. For instance, in a game of roulette, the wheel is electronically monitored minute by minute to discover any statistical deviation from its expected results; and chips with built-in microcircuitry enable casinos to track the amount of money wagered on a particular game at any given time. Casinos have also implemented video surveillance, in which customers are constantly monitored by cameras to ensure they do not steal or cheat.
In the twenty-first century, casinos are focusing more attention on attracting high rollers who are a more reliable source of profits. These gamblers are favored with special rooms separate from the main floor where they can wager in the tens of thousands of dollars. In addition, they receive comps worth a considerable sum, such as free hotel suites and lavish personal attention.
However, some critics say that the casino industry is not good for the economy. They point out that casinos lure gamblers from other sources of local entertainment, such as sports events and theaters; that the cost of treating problem gambling erodes any positive economic effects a casino might have; and that the loss of productivity caused by compulsive gambling offsets any economic gains a casino might make. Some also argue that the casino industry is a major contributor to gambling addiction. These arguments have led to legislation in many states regulating the amount of money that can be placed on any single bet and prohibiting casinos from marketing gambling to young people.