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What Happens Inside a Casino?

What Happens Inside a Casino?


The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, but the vast majority of its entertainment — and profits for its owners — comes from games of chance. Slot machines, roulette, blackjack, craps, keno and baccarat bring in billions of dollars each year for casinos. But what makes these gambling halls so special? And what happens inside that most people don’t see?

The history of the casino began in the 16th century, as a gambling craze swept across Europe. Italian aristocrats would meet to gamble in private clubs called ridotti. Although these were technically illegal, authorities rarely bothered them. [Source: Schwartz]

Over time, these places became bigger and more lavish. Today, they offer many more kinds of gaming, along with restaurants, hotels and other amenities. But one thing has remained the same: every game offers a built-in advantage for the house, known as the house edge. This advantage varies by game, but the average is about two percent.

To offset this, casinos rely on players to keep spending money and to attract new patrons. The most loyal customers are rewarded with free hotel rooms, meals and tickets to shows. Players who play a lot of table games or spend long hours at the slots are especially important to a casino’s bottom line. These big-spending players are known as comps and can earn the casino thousands of dollars a year. Some even receive free limo service and airline tickets.