The Casino Business – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

From glitzy Las Vegas to Monaco and China, the world’s best casinos combine luxury with high stakes. While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels help draw in the crowds, casinos would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, poker, roulette and baccarat provide the billions of dollars in profits that casino owners rake in every year. We take a look at how casinos make their money, the history behind some of the most popular casino games and the dark side of the business.

Most casinos offer a wide variety of gambling options, including table games like blackjack and roulette, slot machines and video poker, as well as keno and bingo. Many also have live entertainment and top-notch hotels, spas, restaurants and bars. Some casinos even offer limo service and airline tickets for big bettors.

Due to the large amounts of money that are handled within a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with others or independently. To combat these problems, casinos invest a lot of time and money in security measures. In addition to the obvious security cameras, casinos use sophisticated technology to supervise their games: chips have built-in microcircuitry that allow casino personnel to monitor game play minute by minute; roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover statistical deviations quickly. And in some casinos, surveillance staff watch from catwalks above the casino floor through one-way mirrors.