From the glittering casinos of Las Vegas to the crowded illegal pai gow tables of New York’s Chinatown, people are drawn to games of chance in the name of entertainment. While lighted fountains, musical shows and shopping centers all help draw in the crowds, it is gambling that provides billions of dollars in profits for casino owners. This article looks at how casinos make their money, how they stay safe and the dark side of the business.
Gambling in one form or another has been part of every society throughout history, and casinos are an industry built on it. While most people who gamble play for fun, some become addicted to the thrill of winning and are unable to stop gambling, which can cost them their jobs, homes, families and lives. The gambling addiction problem is so severe in some areas that the local economy actually loses money due to the lost productivity of compulsive gamblers.
Although some governments prohibit gambling, most have legalized casinos or at least tolerate them. Casinos are regulated and monitored, and many use sophisticated cameras to keep an eye on the patrons. The cameras can be focused on particular tables or windows by security personnel in a separate room filled with banks of monitors. They also allow the casino to track the movement of large sums of money and identify suspicious individuals. The casino also enforces rules of conduct and behavior, so cheating or stealing is discouraged. Some casinos also give “comps” to good players, such as free rooms and meals.