Whether you’re itching to hit the slots, roll the dice, or place your bets on a poker game, there are few things that can satisfy your gambling fix like a trip to a casino. These dazzling destinations offer more than just the clinking of slot machines and shuffling of cards—they also offer top-notch hotels, restaurants, spas, and live entertainment.
The casino is the most common name for a gambling establishment. Although they are commonly associated with the United States, there are casinos in many other places around the world. Some are more famous than others, and each has its own unique history and culture. Known for their lavish decor and nonstop action, the most famous casinos are featured in many movies, books, and TV shows.
Some people travel the world specifically to visit casinos, while others inadvertently find themselves in one when they least expect it. Whatever your reason for seeking out a casino, it’s important to know what to look for in order to enjoy yourself as much as possible.
Gambling is a risky endeavor, so casinos spend a lot of time and money on security. They employ a full-time physical security force as well as a specialized surveillance department that works closely with the physical security team and patrols the building’s interior. In addition, some casinos have catwalks in the ceiling that allow surveillance personnel to watch directly down, through one-way glass, on games taking place at the tables and slot machines.
A casino’s main source of income is the vig or rake, which is the house’s advantage on all bets placed by patrons. This can be as small as two percent, but over millions of bets it adds up to substantial profits for the casino. This virtual assurance of profit gives the casino the luxury of offering big bettors extravagant inducements, such as free spectacular entertainment, limousine transportation, free hotel rooms, reduced-fare transportation and other perks.
Mobster money flowed steadily into Reno and Las Vegas during the 1950s, giving the casinos a reputation for sleaze. But real estate investors and major hotel chains with deep pockets soon saw how much they could make from this lucrative market, bought out the mobsters, and began running their own casinos without mob interference. Today, federal crackdowns and the threat of losing a gaming license at even the slightest hint of mob involvement keep the gangsters out of casinos.
Casinos are popular tourist attractions, especially in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. They are often built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and cruise ships. Many of these gambling venues are featured in films and television, including “The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo,” based on the true story of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology students who beat the casino out of $1 million.