What You Need to Know About Casinos

About 51 million people—about a quarter of all those over the age of 21—visit casinos domestically, according to the American Gaming Association. They can choose from a variety of locations, ranging from the glittering hotels and casinos on the Las Vegas strip to the illegal pai gow parlors in New York’s Chinatown. Some casino locations are more famous than others, such as the Bellagio in Las Vegas whose dancing fountains have become iconic and whose name became synonymous with high-end gambling after the movie Ocean’s 11.

The most popular games played in casinos include gaming machines (slots and video poker), table games, and random number games, such as roulette or blackjack. In games with a skill element, the casino earns money through a commission known as a rake. Some casinos employ gaming mathematicians and computer programmers who work to determine optimal strategies for individual games, which the casino then uses.

The modern casino began to develop in the seventeenth century, when games such as roulette and blackjack were invented. During the nineteenth century, more complex machines were introduced and casinos grew in popularity. Today, casinos are highly advanced and use technology to monitor and regulate the games. For example, roulette wheels are electronically monitored minute by minute to discover any statistical deviation; chips with built-in microcircuitry enable the casino to monitor the exact amounts wagered. In addition, video cameras are used to ensure the safety of players and dealers.