When we hear the word casino, images of bright lights, big money and gambling come to mind. From the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas to tiny mountain towns with 19th century Wild West buildings filled with slot machines and poker tables, casinos are found throughout the United States. While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers help draw people in, casinos would not exist without the games of chance that bring in billions of dollars in profits every year.
A small percentage of the money wagered in a casino game goes to the house, and this “vig” is what gives a casino its edge. Over the millions of bets made, this slight advantage yields a substantial profit. This money is then used to pay for everything from the fancy hotels, fountains and pyramids that decorate many a casino, to the enormous slots, roulette wheels and blackjack tables.
In the modern era, casinos focus on customer service, offering free drinks and luxury suites to those who spend large amounts of money. High rollers are even given special rooms to gamble in, separate from the main floor, where they can place bets of tens of thousands of dollars.
Despite the fact that casinos bring in a great deal of revenue, critics say they are harmful to local economies. They shift spending from other forms of entertainment and cause problems for compulsive gamblers. The cost of treating problem gamblers is estimated to be higher than any casino profits.