A casino is a building that houses games of chance and where gambling is the primary activity. Many casinos offer luxuries such as hotels, restaurants, stage shows, shopping centers and other entertainment features, but they would not exist without the games of chance themselves. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and other traditional table games give casinos their billions in profits every year.
The success of casinos depends on the ability to lure gamblers into their premises and keep them there, spending money and gambling as long as possible. Large companies invest millions in determining what colors, sounds and scents appeal to patrons. Casinos also make great use of “comps,” or complimentary items, such as free drinks, food and hotel rooms. During the 1970s, Las Vegas casinos offered discounted travel packages and cheap buffets to encourage gamblers to stay at their properties.
Despite their luxurious amenities, the casinos are mostly business establishments that seek to maximize profit from gamblers. According to a 2002 survey conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates and the Luntz Research Companies, 92% of survey respondents who acknowledged participating in casino gambling indicated that they went to casinos to have fun and spend time with friends and family. The most popular casino games were slot machines, followed by poker and card games. Other games, such as bingo and keno, and gambling on sports/racing events were far less popular.
Throughout the 1990s, casinos drastically increased their use of technology to monitor the games. For example, casino chips have built-in microcircuitry that interacts with electronic systems that monitor the amount of bets placed minute by minute; and some tables are equipped with computerized surveillance systems to discover any deviation from expected results.