The Casino Business
A casino is a place where people gamble on games of chance. The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, with musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate themes competing for customers’ attention alongside the clinking of slot machines and shuffling of cards. While the many luxuries of modern casinos help to draw in customers, they would not exist without the billions of dollars in profits raked in by gambling games such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno.
The casino business grew in the 1950s as Nevada became the first state to legalize gambling. The influx of money from Americans traveling to Nevada was a boon to the economy and local businesses began to open up to capitalize on the visitors. However, legitimate businessmen were reluctant to invest their capital in a venture that had the taint of being associated with crime. This led to mobsters becoming heavily involved in the casino business, taking sole or partial ownership of some casinos and even using their criminal money to influence gaming outcomes.
In the 1990s, casinos dramatically increased their use of technology to supervise their gaming operations. For example, betting chips with built-in microcircuitry interact with electronic systems to allow the casino to monitor exactly how much is wagered on a given game minute by minute; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any statistical deviations from their expected performance. Computers also help with surveillance by allowing the casino to track player activity and provide players with “comps,” free goods and services (such as hotel rooms, dinners, show tickets or even limo service and airline tickets) based on how long they play and how much they bet.
As well as the use of cameras and other technical measures, casinos have a lot of staff dedicated to security. These security personnel keep an eye on the tables and slots to spot any cheating or stealing that may be going on. There are also specialized employees, such as pit bosses and table managers, who focus on specific games and can quickly spot any erratic betting patterns that might indicate cheating is occurring.
In addition to these measures, casinos enforce their security through rules of conduct and behavior. For instance, casino patrons are usually required to keep their cards visible at all times while playing a card game. And if they’re caught smoking or drinking on the premises, they could be asked to leave. Many tourists travel the world specifically to visit casinos, while others inadvertently end up at one and enjoy themselves nonetheless.