Casinos are an integral part of many metropolitan areas. Although the number of casinos is growing at an alarming rate, the percentage of states that have legalized casinos has not been able to keep up with the growth. Across the country, over 40 states have legalized casino gambling, but the number of casinos outside Las Vegas and Atlantic City has declined. Despite the proliferation of casinos, the Las Vegas Valley remains the most populated area in the United States, followed by Atlantic City, the Chicago region, and San Diego.
The gambling industry is fiercely competitive. However, a number of factors contribute to the success of a casino. In the first place, the number of players is small and the number of games offered is varied. For instance, casinos must ensure that patrons cannot lose more than the money they can afford to pay. In addition, casino operators use computers and video cameras to supervise the games. “Chip tracking” involves betting chips with built-in microcircuitry. This enables them to monitor the wagers minute-by-minute. The roulette wheels are also monitored on a regular basis to ensure that they do not show statistical deviations. Lastly, many casinos offer enclosed versions of their games where players can bet by pushing buttons rather than having a dealer.
During the 1990s, casinos began to utilize more technology. The use of computers and video cameras is routine. “Chipping” is a practice in which bets are recorded minute by minute. Statistical deviations are tracked to ensure that the casino will not lose money on a particular game. Some casinos also offer a variety of other incentives to big bettors. Some casinos even provide free cigarettes and drinks to big bettors.