A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. Although casinos have added many luxuries over the years to attract guests, such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows, the main reason for their existence remains gambling. It’s the games of chance—blackjack, roulette, craps and slot machines—that bring in billions in profits every year.
Something about gambling encourages cheating, stealing and scamming, so casinos spend a lot of time and money on security measures. It starts on the floor, where dealers watch over patrons and games with a critical eye. They can spot blatant cheating such as palming, marking or switching cards and dice. They also know where to look for betting patterns that might signal other kinds of cheating. Pit bosses and table managers have a more general view of the games, watching for players who seem out of place.
The casino’s decor also serves a purpose. The aim is to create an experience for the guests that makes them feel like they’re in a special world. Lush carpets, richly tiled hallways and carefully designed lighting serve this purpose. The casinos on the Las Vegas Strip take it to a whole new level, with lavish displays such as a sports car and elaborately dressed dealers.
The most common casino games are baccarat, blackjack, craps and poker, but there are many more. Some casinos specialize in one or more of these, but the games they all offer are based on a similar principle: the house always has an edge.