Casinos are the ultimate gambling Meccas, decked out in opulent furnishings and overflowing bars to tempt patrons to gamble away their money. They have everything from sexy clubs to top restaurants, but the main attraction remains the slot machines and table games.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in the oldest archaeological sites. But casinos, as a place to find all the different ways to gamble under one roof, didn’t develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. The aristocracy of the time often held private parties in special places called ridotti where they could gamble without being bothered by the Italian Inquisition.
Today, casinos are like indoor amusement parks for adults. Spectacular musical shows, fountains and shopping centers draw in the crowds, but it’s the games of chance that generate the billions of dollars in profits casinos rake in each year. The slots, poker, blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat make up the vast majority of casino revenues.
While every game has its own rules and rules for how to play, all casino games have built-in mathematical advantages that ensure the house will always win in the long run. These advantages are known as the “house edge,” and they guarantee a casino’s gross profit. This virtual assurance of profitability enables casinos to offer big bettors extravagant inducements, such as free spectacular entertainment, luxury living quarters and reduced-fare transportation.