The Casino Industry


A casino is a place where gambling and games of chance take center stage. Although a casino may offer luxuries such as restaurants, free drinks, entertainment and elaborate themes, its main business is the sale of gambling products like slot machines, blackjack, poker and roulette. While these games might require some skill, most of the billions in profits raked in by casinos each year come from the whims of chance.

A specialized security department monitors casino operations, and many casinos use video cameras to oversee game play. These cameras are not only used for general security, but some are designed to spot suspicious or definite criminal activity. A specialized team of investigators investigates these images and alerts the casino to any unusual activity.

In addition to cameras, casinos have other security measures. Some have strict rules of conduct and behavior, such as requiring players to keep their hands visible at all times during card play. They also require gamblers to be of legal age to play. A few casinos have even banned smoking and alcoholic beverages.

As the casino industry expanded in the 1990s, it began to use more advanced technology. Chips with built-in microcircuitry enable casinos to track wager amounts minute by minute, and electronic monitoring of roulette wheels allows them to quickly discover any statistical deviation from expected results. These advanced surveillance systems are expensive, but they help to maintain the integrity of casino games and to protect the assets of the owners.

Although some casinos offer Asian-inspired games, most focus on western games such as baccarat (in its popular variant called chemin de fer), blackjack and pai gow poker. Other traditional games include sic bo, fan-tan, boule and kalooki. Casinos also offer less common games of chance such as two-up in Australia, banca francesa in Portugal and tanda tangga in Indonesia.

Casinos use several techniques to keep customers happy and increase their chances of winning. Free food and drinks encourage patrons to spend more money, but they don’t reduce the house edge of any game. In addition, they give out comps such as hotel rooms and merchandise to loyal customers. Some casinos even put ATM machines in strategic locations to lure patrons.

Casinos have become a major part of modern life, but they have their critics. Studies show that gambling addicts generate a disproportionate amount of casino revenue, and they drain local economies by diverting spending away from other forms of entertainment. And while they create jobs, the costs of treating compulsive gamblers and lost productivity offset any economic benefits.