The Casino Industry Is Booming

The Casino Industry Is Booming

The word casino brings to mind images of elaborate hotels and fountains, dazzling shows, luxury restaurants and elegantly dressed patrons. While all of these amenities contribute to the billions of dollars in profit raked in by casinos annually, they would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and craps provide the gambling thrills that attract millions of visitors and make casinos a major source of income for their owners.

Each game of chance has a built-in advantage for the house that, over time, ensures its profitability. While the percentage can be as low as two percent, it adds up over the millions of bets placed by casino patrons. This money, known as the “house edge,” provides the foundation for the billions of dollars in profits raked in by casinos each year.

Despite their seamy image, casinos have always attracted organized crime players. Mob figures had lots of cash from drug dealing and extortion, and were willing to put their funds into something with a more respectable image than the sleazy illegal activities they were used to running. During the 1950s, mob money helped expand the gambling industry in Reno and Las Vegas. But the mobsters weren’t content with just providing the bankroll, and became heavily involved in casinos, taking sole or part ownership of some, influencing the outcome of games and intimidating casino employees.

The casino industry is booming and the world’s largest casinos are becoming increasingly extravagant in scale. The newest, and most spectacular, is the Venetian Macao & City of Dreams in Macau, East Asia’s version of Vegas. Its opulent exterior is topped by the world’s largest LED dome made up of more than a million lights. Inside, it’s a glitzy spectacle of over a thousand table games and 1000 slot machines spread across several large rooms.

Security is also an important aspect of the modern casino. Every employee on the floor has a higher-up watching their work, ensuring that they’re following protocol and noticing any suspicious behavior. Each casino also has high-tech surveillance systems that allow security workers to watch the entire casino at once. These eye-in-the-sky systems can be adjusted to focus on specific areas or suspicious patrons, and the video feeds are recorded for later review.

Many casinos offer their best patrons inducements in the form of free show tickets, hotel rooms, restaurant food and limo service. This is called comping. The casino’s point of view is that big spenders are their best customers, and it’s worth the extra cost to keep them happy. But critics argue that the true cost of casino gaming is not in the money that’s won or lost on the tables, but in the money spent by people with compulsive gambling to maintain their addiction, as well as the cost to society of the damage caused by gambling-related health problems and workplace productivity. This is why some lawmakers have sought to limit or ban gambling in the United States.