The modern casino is a bit like an indoor amusement park for adults, with the vast majority of the entertainment (and profits for the owners) coming from games of chance. Slot machines, black jack, roulette, craps and keno provide the billions in profits that casinos rake in each year. Although many other things are included in a casino to draw in guests, including musical shows, shopping centers and elaborate themes, the casinos would not exist without those games of chance.
There’s something about the casino atmosphere that seems to encourage people to cheat, steal and generally go against the rules of the game in a way that wouldn’t occur in other circumstances. That’s why casinos spend a lot of time, money and effort on security. Security measures include cameras, a system that electronically tracks betting chips minute by minute, and computers that monitor roulette wheels, revealing any statistical deviations from expected results.
Security in a casino begins on the gaming floor, where dealers keep their eyes on patrons to make sure all goes as it should. Unlike some other gambling establishments, in which patrons may be able to palm cards or switch dice, most of the casino’s tables require players to keep their hands visible at all times. Those hands are watched closely by pit bosses and table managers, who can also watch for betting patterns that could signal a cheating attempt.
Something about the atmosphere of the casino also encourages some patrons to try their luck at winning a jackpot through skillful play. That’s why a lot of casinos have rules preventing card cheating, sleight-of-hand and other such tricks. Besides, those kinds of activities hurt the casinos’ reputations and can even cause them to lose business.
The best casinos understand that they need to offer a wide range of games to appeal to gamblers of all skill levels, tastes and incomes. That’s why most of them offer a variety of slot machines, as well as traditional Far Eastern games like sic bo and fan-tan.
As disposable income increases worldwide, the number of casinos has grown rapidly. Many of the largest ones are located in Asia, with the Venetian Macao and City of Dreams leading the pack. Some are built for non-gamblers as well, with attractions such as a theater, an art gallery and several restaurants.
Despite the large amounts of money handled in a casino, both patrons and employees can be tempted to cheat and steal, either in collusion or independently. That’s why most casinos have strict security policies, ranging from cameras to one-way mirrors that allow surveillance personnel to look directly down on the action at the table or slot machine. Security personnel can also use catwalks above the gaming areas to observe patrons from a distance. If a suspicious behavior is observed, security can immediately eject the offender. Some casinos even have their own police force to protect them from criminal activity outside the premises. Despite these measures, some casinos still manage to be the target of organized crime groups that use them as a front for illegal drug trafficking and extortion.