How Casinos Make Their Money


A casino is a building or room where gambling games like blackjack, poker and roulette are played. It also offers free drinks, stage shows and other luxuries to attract gamblers. There are more than 1,000 casinos worldwide, including glitzy resorts in Las Vegas and smaller neighborhood casinos. Regardless of their size, location or theme, casinos are primarily profit centers for their owners. This article explores how casinos make their money, the history of the industry and some of its dark side.

Historically, casinos were run by organized crime figures, and they relied on mob funding for their operations. The mob often made personal bets on behalf of their mafia members, and they sometimes took sole or partial ownership of casinos. However, as American businessmen began to gain more control over the gambling industry, mob involvement diminished and legitimate businesses took over many casinos.

Modern casinos use a combination of physical security and a specialized surveillance department to prevent theft and other crime. While a casino’s employees cannot watch every patron at all times, they have an excellent chance of catching any suspicious behavior with the help of cameras in the ceiling. These “eyes in the sky” are controlled from a room filled with rows of security monitors, and they can be directed to focus on particular tables or areas at the discretion of casino personnel.

Something about the nature of gambling seems to encourage people to cheat and steal, either in collusion with other patrons or independently. As a result, casinos spend a great deal of money on security measures to deter this activity. Besides the cameras and trained staff, casinos also use chips instead of real currency to keep players from fretting about losing money. This keeps players more focused on the game and makes it easier for the casino to track their winnings and losses.

In addition to security, casinos rely heavily on the customer service aspect of their business to maximize revenue. Most casinos offer complimentary items, known as comps, to players who spend a lot of time or money playing their games. These items can include free hotel rooms, dinners, show tickets or even limo service and airline tickets. The amount of money a player spends at the casino is usually used to determine his or her comp level. To find out more about how a casino’s comp system works, talk to a casino employee or someone at the information desk.