In these swanky temples of temptation, decked out in opulent furnishings and overflowing bars, gambling is elevated to art form. From blackjack and roulette to slot machines and poker, these ten casinos will have you throwing down your chips and seeing if fate and fortune smiles on you.
While gamblers have been around for millennia, the modern casino as we know it didn’t really start until the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe. Although primitive protodice, or cut knuckle bones, and even carved six-sided dice have been found in prehistoric archaeological sites, the idea of a place where people could find many different ways to gamble under one roof didn’t emerge until that time. The first casinos were actually small clubhouses, or ridotti, that Italian aristocrats would use for private social occasions.
Most modern casinos have a wide variety of games, but they also focus on customer service and offer a host of other amenities to keep their patrons comfortable. These can include top-notch hotels, spas, restaurants, and live entertainment. Often, casinos are designed around a theme to increase their appeal. For instance, the newest Las Vegas casino, CityCenter, is modeled after a Mediterranean village.
Something about gambling seems to encourage cheating and scamming, and that’s why casinos spend a huge amount of time and money on security. There are always shady characters trying to manipulate the rules and take advantage of innocent gamblers, but the good news is that the majority of people who play at casinos are honest and don’t try to game the system.
Despite the fact that gambling is illegal in most of the United States, it continues to grow and flourish. The first legal casino opened in Nevada in 1931, and it took decades before New Jersey and other states joined the ranks of those that allowed legalized gambling. Today, the country has more than 100 casinos and is home to the world’s largest casino, which happens to be located in Ledyard, Connecticut and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Indian tribe.
The casino industry isn’t a very stable one, and its growth has been slowed by the economic slowdown of the last several years. In addition to the financial challenges facing most businesses, the popularity of Internet gaming has made it harder for brick and mortar casinos to attract customers.
Despite the downturn, most casinos are still surviving by offering perks that encourage gamblers to spend more. For example, some casinos offer a card that patrons can swipe before each game to earn points. These points can then be exchanged for free food, drinks, or shows. Other casinos offer programs that are similar to airline frequent-flyer programs, and these allow gamblers to earn loyalty bonuses over time. These perks are essential to the survival of casinos in the current economy. They are what make them a unique part of the hospitality industry.