In its most basic form, a casino is simply a public place where a variety of games of chance can be played. More recent and lavish examples, however, have added restaurants, free drinks, stage shows and other amenities designed to attract patrons and offset gambling’s seamy image.
Modern casinos may look more like indoor amusement parks than gambling houses, but their profits still largely come from games of chance such as blackjack, roulette, craps and slots. A casino’s edge — its statistical advantage over the player — is a key factor in how much money it can make each year.
A casino’s security measures also are crucial to its profitability. Table managers and pit bosses watch over each table, looking for blatant cheating such as “palming,” in which a hand is concealed during dealing; marking, in which the face of a card or dice is marked; and betting patterns that indicate cheating. Casinos also use video cameras to monitor patrons and games, and some have a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” that allows casino workers to see each table, floor, change window and doorway at once. This system can be adjusted by security personnel to focus on suspect patrons and can alert them immediately when suspicious activity is detected.