A casino is an establishment for gambling. While musical shows, lighted fountains and elaborate themes help draw in patrons, casinos would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and more provide the billions in profits raked in by U.S. casinos each year.
In modern times, many casinos also feature restaurants and entertainment venues, making them more like indoor amusement parks than traditional gambling houses. This trend is especially prevalent in Las Vegas, where entire resorts are built around the gaming floor.
The first casinos were built in the 16th century during a gambling craze that swept Europe. While primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones have been found in archaeological sites, the casino as an institution that offered a variety of gambling activities under one roof did not appear until the era of Elizabeth I.
Casinos are built to maximize revenue by encouraging gamblers to spend as much money as possible. They do this through a system of rewards and inducements known as “comps.” A gambler who plays for long periods or at high stakes is considered a good player by the casino, and is often rewarded with free hotel rooms, meals, drinks, show tickets, limo service and airline tickets. These comps are designed to make up for the fact that the casino is unlikely to win any money from a particular gambler.
While the vast majority of casino patrons are average and lower-income, casinos still focus on attracting wealthy high rollers. These high rollers gamble in special rooms away from the main casino floor, where they can place bets in the tens of thousands of dollars. To lure them, casinos offer a combination of extravagant inducements and a virtual guarantee of profit.
Although it is impossible to completely eliminate the house edge from any casino game, technological advances are reducing it. Computerized systems monitor all the bets placed at a table, watching for any deviation from expected results. In addition, casinos use video cameras to supervise the games and players.
Casinos are a popular destination for vacationers and locals alike. The majority of people who visit a casino are not professional gamblers, but rather people who enjoy the social atmosphere and the many other activities that a casino offers. Although many people believe that casinos are only for the wealthy, a recent survey by Roper Reports GfK NOP found that the average casino gambler is a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with above-average income. This demographic is particularly attractive to the casino industry because it is the age group most likely to have disposable income and time to gamble. The number of casinos continues to grow as more states legalize gambling. Many of these casinos are located near large population centers, where tourism is more plentiful and the economic benefits can be significant. For example, the city of Las Vegas attracts visitors from all over the world who come to play at its famous casinos.