The Dark Side of Casino
Casino is a modern indoor amusement park for adults. Musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate themes draw the crowds. But the vast majority of the fun for players – and the billions in profits for owners – comes from gambling. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette and craps generate the lion’s share of the industry’s income.
Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites. But the casino as we know it developed in the 16th century, with European aristocrats gathering at private clubs called ridotti to enjoy their gambling addiction. This craze pushed legal gambling into the open, and the first casinos were born.
Today’s casinos are heavily regulated and feature high-tech surveillance systems. They often employ cameras mounted in the ceiling that provide a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” that allows security staff to monitor every table, window and doorway simultaneously. In addition, the movement of betting chips is constantly monitored to detect any deviation from expected patterns. Roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any anomalies quickly, and payouts of slots and video poker machines are determined by computer algorithms rather than human beings.
While the casino industry is a great moneymaker for states, there is a dark side to it that many people don’t realize. The house edge, which is built into all casino games, ensures that the casino – not players – will come out ahead in the long run.