The Casino Industry

A casino is a place where people can gamble, and it’s also a popular destination for tourists. From the flashing lights of Las Vegas to the illegal pai gow parlors in New York’s Chinatown, there are more than 1,000 casinos worldwide.

Besides offering gambling, many casinos have restaurants, bars and nightclubs, and some even host live entertainment. But not all casinos are equal: Some, like the Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco, are elegant, and others are run-down and seedy.

The casino industry is a huge business. In 2005, it generated more than $1 trillion in gross revenues. Its customers are primarily middle- and upper-class Americans who enjoy visiting places where they can spend their money, relax and have fun. The typical casino patron is a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with an above-average income.

Casinos use a variety of tricks to entice patrons, including bright lights, music and other noises, and a variety of slot machines and table games. The casinos on the Las Vegas strip, for example, use more than 15,000 miles (24,100 km) of neon tubing to illuminate their games.

The casinos earn their profits by charging players for the gambling privileges they provide. Each game has a built-in statistical advantage for the casino, and this edge can be tiny—no more than two percent—but it adds up over the millions of bets made by gamblers each year. And something about the nature of casino gambling seems to encourage people to cheat, steal and otherwise bend the rules in their pursuit of a big jackpot.