As its name suggests, Casino is a facility for gambling. Although musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers attract visitors, the billions of dollars in profits from games such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, craps and keno make casinos what they are.
While many casino gamblers are able to control their spending, others cannot. These compulsive gamblers generate a disproportionate share of casino profits and contribute to the economic damage that casinos cause in their host communities. Moreover, studies show that casino revenues tend to shift spending away from other forms of entertainment, such as live music and movies. The cost of treating problem gamblers and the loss in productivity due to their absence from work more than offset any economic gains a casino may bring.
Nevertheless, casinos rely heavily on the revenue generated by these gamblers to offset their costs and provide a profit. They reward them with “comps” that include free or reduced-fare transportation, hotel rooms, meals and drinks. In addition, casinos employ sophisticated technologies to ensure their profits. For example, betting chips have microcircuitry that enables them to be tracked minute by minute, and roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any statistical deviations.
Despite these technologies, casino gambling remains a risky business. According to a 2005 study conducted by Roper Reports GfK NOP, about 24% of American adults visit casinos at least once a year. Most of these visitors are forty-five or older, and have above-average incomes. They play both casino-type games and table-games such as two-up, fan-tan and pai-gow.