Casinos are massive entertainment complexes that feature a wide variety of gambling games. They also offer hotels, restaurants, non-gambling game rooms and many other amenities that make them appealing to entire families. Casinos often have elaborate themes that rely on lights, sound and color to create an exciting and enticing environment.
Casino gambling features games of chance and, in some cases, skill. Patrons place bets on events that may or may not happen, using chips with built-in microcircuitry that allow casinos to monitor the amount of money wagered minute by minute and spot anomalies in betting patterns. Casinos profit from these bets through a percentage of the total bet, which is known as the house edge. The house edge can be very small, or it can be as large as two percent, depending on the game. Casinos earn billions of dollars in annual revenues for the companies, investors, and Native American tribes that own them. Local communities benefit from casino profits in the form of taxes and other payments.
A casino’s security begins on the gaming floor, where employees keep close watch over patrons to detect any suspicious activity. Pit bosses and table managers oversee the operations of individual tables, looking for blatant cheating such as marking or switching cards or dice. High rollers are often given special inducements, such as free spectacular entertainment and luxurious living quarters, to ensure they keep coming back.
In the past, mobster ownership of casinos was common, and mobster involvement in a casino could be spotted by the presence of black-and-white checkered floors or neon signs that spell out the word “casino.” But in the twenty-first century, real estate investors and hotel chains have bought out most of the old guard, and the risk of losing a gaming license at even the faintest hint of mafia affiliation keeps the gangsters away from their money-making cash cows.