The modern casino is a lavish place where people spend money to gamble. Musical shows, lighted fountains and elaborate hotels add to the atmosphere, but the bulk of the profits come from gambling games like slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat. Casinos are found in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and other large entertainment centers, as well as at many racetracks (racinos) and on cruise ships and riverboats. Casino-type game machines are also popular in bars, truck stops and grocery stores.
Gambling games typically have a degree of skill, but the house always wins. This is due to mathematically determined odds that give the casino a built-in advantage, or expected value. Casinos rely on this edge to make billions of dollars in gross profit each year.
There are many security measures in place to prevent cheating by patrons and employees. Some casinos have security cameras throughout the facility to watch for suspicious betting patterns, while others use high-tech “chip tracking” systems that record every bet minute by minute and alert the staff of any statistical deviations. Many of these technological devices are developed by private companies that contract with the casinos for security purposes.
In general, the typical casino visitor is a forty-six-year-old woman with an above-average income who has plenty of time to gamble and wants to take a chance at winning big. In 2005, this group made up 23% of all Americans who visited a casino, according to research conducted by Roper Reports GfK and the U.S. Gaming Panel by TNS.