How Casinos Make Their Money

Whether you’re looking to spin the wheel on a slot machine, throw a dice at the craps table or put your best poker face forward on a blackjack game, a casino is the place to scratch that gambling itch. But few people know that casinos make their money by offering more than just games of chance. They offer shows, fine dining and other distractions that can make them an ideal choice for a night out.

The casinos’ main source of income is the built in statistical advantage they have on each bet they accept. This advantage, often less than two percent, is what earns them billions in profits every year. The advantage can vary based on the rules and payouts of individual games; for example, a casino’s edge on roulette may be lower than the house edge in the game of craps. But the fact is that it’s rare for a casino to lose money on any one bet, even for just a day.

A casino’s advantage is even more pronounced when it deals with high rollers. These gamblers spend tens of thousands of dollars or more, and it’s the revenue from them that provides most of a casino’s profit. In order to attract these important patrons, a casino may give them free spectacular entertainment, reduced-fare transportation and elegant living quarters. Other inducements include free drinks and cigarettes while gambling, and comped meals.

Other sources of casino income are from the casino’s specialized security forces and the surveillance systems that allow them to keep a close eye on patron behavior. Typically, casino security is divided between a physical security force that patrols the floor and a specialized surveillance department that operates a closed circuit television system (known in the business as an “eye-in-the-sky”) that watches each table, window, doorway and other changeable feature of the building.

The modern casino is a vastly different place than the small clubhouses where Italians met for social games in the eighteenth century. Now, the casino is more like an indoor amusement park for adults. It features a wide variety of entertainment, including musical shows and lighted fountains. But it would not exist without games of chance, which provide the billions in profits that casinos rake in each year. While a casino’s ambience, amenities and games of chance can add to the local economy, some studies show that the gambling industry’s contribution to a community is actually negative because it shifts spending away from other forms of entertainment. Some also argue that the cost of treating problem gamblers and lost productivity from gambling addiction cancel out any economic gains a casino might bring to the community. These examples have been automatically selected from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word ‘casino.’ See the full definition for casino in the dictionary.