The Casino Industry
The casino industry generates billions of dollars each year. These profits benefit the companies, investors, and Native American tribes that run them. They also support state and local governments through taxes and fees. Successful casinos attract visitors from all over the world. These patrons spend money on food, drink, rooms, and games of chance and skill. Some casinos are enormous, with many tables and thousands of slot machines. Others are more intimate, with fewer games and smaller spaces. Some are even built into hotels and resorts.
Gambling has been a popular activity throughout history. People from every culture have found entertainment value in wagering on the outcome of events, whether they be sports contests, card games, dice games, or board games. In modern times, gambling is regulated by government agencies and often combined with hotel operations, restaurants, retail shopping, and other tourist attractions. The word casino comes from the Italian casona, meaning “residence.” Originally, it was a place for the nobility to relax and enjoy entertainment. Later, it was a place to play and socialize with other wealthy Europeans.
Most casinos have security measures in place to prevent cheating and theft by both patrons and employees. The most basic precaution is to make sure that all players and their winnings are visible to casino personnel. Casinos also use bright, sometimes gaudy colors to stimulate gamblers and to keep them from losing track of time. In addition, casino walls are usually covered with red to create a cheery and exciting atmosphere.
Because there is so much cash in a casino, both patrons and employees may be tempted to steal. This can happen in collusion with each other or independently. Some casinos have a specialized surveillance department, while others use a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” system to monitor all activity. Some casinos also have an employee monitoring the floor and can call for backup when necessary.
Another way that casinos encourage gamblers to spend more is by offering comps, or complimentary items. These can include free room and meal vouchers, show tickets, and other merchandise. The amount of money that a gambler spends at the casino determines his or her comp level. The higher the level, the more perks the gambler will receive.
The largest casino is the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, followed by Atlantic City and Chicago. Other states have casinos, but these are often smaller than those in Las Vegas and other large cities. In some states, gambling is allowed in riverboats, racetracks, and other small businesses such as bars and grocery stores. Increasingly, Indian tribes are opening casinos on their reservations.