The Casino Industry


While casinos provide a wide range of entertainment (musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate themes), the majority of the billions in profits they bring in every year comes from gambling. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette and other casino games of chance form the core of any modern casino. Read on to learn more about this fascinating and sometimes controversial industry.

While gambling in some form almost certainly predates written history, the term casino as we know it dates to the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian nobles held private parties at houses called ridotti to gamble away their fortunes. Unlike modern casinos, these ridotti had no centralized location and were largely unregulated by law enforcement.

Casinos have a long and colorful history, ranging from the seedy mob-run operations of Reno and Las Vegas to the elegant and highly regulated establishments of Monte Carlo and Berlin. Even today, casinos are infamously susceptible to fraud and crime. In addition to the security guards and cameras, they employ sophisticated technologies such as chip tracking, where betting chips have built-in microcircuitry to allow casinos to monitor the amount wagered minute by minute, and electronically monitored roulette wheels that can spot statistical deviations in their expected results quickly.

While casinos offer many luxuries to attract customers, their primary source of profit is gambling, and that is the reason they are in business. Gambling enthusiasts enjoy their highs and lows, but compulsive gamblers create a disproportionate share of casino profits. In fact, some economic studies indicate that the net impact of casinos on a community may be negative due to the shift in spending from other forms of entertainment and the cost of treating problem gamblers.