Whether you prefer to try your luck with the slots or put on your best poker face at the blackjack table, the casino is the place to satisfy your gambling itch. Although musical shows, lighted fountains and lavish hotels lure visitors in, casinos are primarily businesses that rake in billions in profits each year from games of chance. Learn about how casinos make money, the history of casino games and how to gamble responsibly.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice such as cut knuckle bones and carved six-sided dice found at many archaeological sites. But the modern casino with its variety of ways to play did not become common until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. Small private clubs called ridotti sprung up, where patrons could meet in a relaxed environment without being bothered by the police or other legal authorities.
Casinos earn most of their money from the house edge, a statistical advantage built into every game offered. This may be only a few percent, but over the millions of bets placed each year this profit margin adds up. A casino also earns from the vig or rake charged on each hand of blackjack and other card games, and from the various fees charged for table games such as baccarat and trente et quarante.
A casino does not earn much from people who do not gamble, but it will reward loyal patrons with free goods and services. Players who are deemed to be good gamblers will receive comps such as free hotel rooms, show tickets or even airline tickets.