The main attraction in any casino is, of course, the games. With music blaring and coins clinking, people are excited to try their luck at poker or blackjack, where skill and strategy compete with chance in an adrenaline rush. There’s also a large variety of slot machines and roulette, which offer a more laid back approach to gambling.

Casinos spend a huge amount of time and money on security. Many have a slew of cameras, and staffers watch patrons and the games carefully for anything out of the ordinary. Dealers, especially, are trained to spot blatant cheating, such as marking or palming cards or dice. Moreover, each table has a pit boss or manager who oversees it, looking for betting patterns that could reveal collusion or other irregularities.

In the 1990s, casinos dramatically increased their use of technology, including video cameras to monitor tables and patrons, as well as computerized systems that monitor games and flag statistical deviations from expected results. They also employ chips with built-in microcircuitry that enable them to track exactly how much is being wagered on each game minute by minute, and their roulette wheels are monitored electronically so that any statistical anomaly will stick out like a fifth ace. According to a 2005 study by Roper Reports GfK NOP and the U.S. Gaming Panel by TNS, the average casino gambler is a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with an above-average income. But there is one group that a casino can count on to keep its profits rolling in: the high rollers. These people are rewarded with generous “comps,” such as free hotel rooms, dinners, tickets to shows, and even limo service and airline tickets.