The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults. While musical shows, shopping centers and elaborate hotels help attract customers, the vast majority of a casino’s profits come from games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette and keno are just some of the many games that make up the billions in revenue that casinos rake in every year.
A casino’s mathematical advantage over patrons is small—typically two percent or less—but it’s enough to give a casino the financial means to spend millions on architectural splendor and create lucrative promotional campaigns. The advantage is calculated on a game-by-game basis and can include the house edge or an automatic vig, depending on the rules of the specific game.
As a result, casinos offer free or discounted meals, hotel rooms, shows, drinks and other services to big spenders in the name of building customer loyalty. In addition, casino computers track patrons’ play and spending habits to provide comps based on their level of activity. Players swipe a special card before each game session, and the casino’s sophisticated software system tally up points based on the amount of time and money they’re betting.
A casino’s security starts on the gambling floor, where dealers and pit bosses keep an eye out for blatant cheating. Then there are the high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” systems that use cameras in the ceiling to watch each table, window and doorway—and can be adjusted to focus on specific suspicious patrons by security workers in a room filled with banks of security monitors.