What You Need to Know About a Casino

A casino, in its modern form, is like a giant indoor amusement park. It features musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate themes. But the vast majority of its billions in profits comes from gambling. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat generate the cash that keeps casinos rolling. The articles in this section explain how casinos work, why they are so popular and what you can expect if you gamble there. They also discuss casino security, the perks high-rollers get and the dark side of gambling.

Something about casinos, whether the music and lights or the large amounts of money involved, seems to encourage people to cheat and steal—either in collusion with others or on their own. Because of this, casinos spend a lot of time and money on security measures. The basics include security cameras located throughout the building and pit bosses and table managers who keep an eye on game play. Security also looks for patterns of betting that might be a sign of tampering or crooked dealing.

Casinos are found worldwide. In the United States they are often built on Native American reservations, where state antigambling laws do not apply. In addition, some are located in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Many other American cities have smaller casinos. In the twenty-first century, casinos are concentrating their investments on “high rollers”—people who gamble a great deal of money. In return, these players get a lot of comps—free hotel rooms, dinners, show tickets and even airline and limo service.