A casino is a gambling establishment. These opulent temples of temptation are home to slot machines, roulette, blackjack and poker, as well as sports betting. They attract hardened gamblers and novices alike, all drawn in by the lure of a fat stack of chips. The dazzling lights, opulent furnishings and overflowing bars make these decadent casinos some of the most desirable places to throw down your chips. Hopper takes a look at the top ten casinos in the world.
Casinos have a long and complicated history. Some, like the Bellagio in Las Vegas, have become famous for their glitz and glamour, and even made it into movies. Despite the glamorous veneer, the majority of revenue for casinos still comes from gambling and its related activities. Slot machines, roulette, blackjack, craps and baccarat provide the billions in profits that fuel the casino business.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological sites. However, the idea of a casino as a place where patrons can find all sorts of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century. At that time, a gambling craze swept Europe and wealthy Italian aristocrats held private parties in clubs known as ridotti.
Modern casinos can be found all over the world. Many are combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants and shopping centers. They are often located on Native American reservations and in other countries where state anti-gambling laws do not apply. They may also be found on cruise ships and in other tourist areas. The name casino is derived from the Italian word for small house, and it originally meant an officers’ mess.
Although casino profits can be considerable, they are not without their risks. Some studies have shown that compulsive gambling can have devastating social and economic effects. Furthermore, the disproportionate amount of money that casino customers generate can negatively impact local businesses. It is estimated that the cost of treating problem gamblers and lost productivity outweighs any financial gains from casino gambling.
Casinos must carefully balance the need to protect their profits with the need to create a comfortable environment for their patrons. This is why they spend so much money on security. Elaborate surveillance systems offer a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky,” with cameras that can watch every table, window and doorway. They can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons by workers in a room filled with banks of security monitors. Besides cameras, casinos use other tools to detect and prevent cheating and crime. For example, a friend of mine who worked security at a casino told me about the number of people who stood in front of slot machines soiling themselves because they believed they were on a winning streak. This is why it is important to read the terms and conditions of each casino before making a deposit. In addition to being careful about the casino’s reputation, you should also check whether it has a high payout percentage.