The Casino Business

Like any business in a capitalist society, casinos are in it to make money. Successful ones rake in billions of dollars each year for the corporations, investors and Native American tribes that own and operate them. But despite the stage shows, shopping centers and elaborate themes that draw in the crowds, casinos would not exist without gambling. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat bring in the cash that keeps casino owners rolling in the dough.

Most casino games have a significant element of chance, but some involve a degree of skill as well. In games where players compete against each other, the house earns its money through a commission known as a rake. In games with a skill element, such as poker, the house has a mathematical expectation of winning.

Casinos create stimulating atmospheres that encourage patrons to gamble and stay longer by offering perks such as free drinks, meals, hotel rooms and show tickets. The casino industry also pays close attention to security. Casino employees keep their eyes on patrons and the tables, spotting blatant cheating and other violations of casino rules. They also follow patterns in the way that patrons play, so that if someone does something out of the ordinary it is easier for security to spot.

While mobsters once ran many of the world’s casinos, real estate developers and hotel chains soon realized that they could run these gambling establishments much more profitably. With deep pockets and the threat of losing their gaming licenses at even the slightest hint of mob involvement, these companies bought out the mobsters and kicked them out of the picture.