The Casino Business

A casino is a place where people can play games of chance and win money. It’s a bit more lavish than your grandmother’s weekend bus trips to the local gambling joint, but it has the same basic character. It’s also a business, and like any other, it’s designed to make sure it will win in the long run. To that end, every game has a built-in advantage for the casino, which can be very small—lower than two percent, for example, in roulette and craps. But over millions of bets, this edge adds up and earns the casinos enough revenue to pay for elaborate hotels, fountains, pyramids and towers. A casino must also employ pit bosses, fraud experts and alert security personnel to protect the bottom line.

Beneath the varnish of flashing lights and free cocktails, casinos are engineered to slowly bleed patrons of their cash. But for years mathematically inclined minds have tried to turn the tables, using their understanding of probability and game theory to beat the house.

The most famous casino is the Bellagio in Las Vegas, which has featured in countless movies and is a must-see for anyone visiting Sin City. But there are plenty of other famous casinos around the world, from glamorous Monte-Carlo to the stately Casino Lisboa in Lisbon. In addition to their gambling offerings, many casinos offer a variety of other entertainment options, from restaurants and stage shows to shopping and spas. Many offer a wide range of VIP programs to reward frequent players with electronics, bonuses and even vacations.