The word casino may bring to mind images of glitzy Las Vegas casinos with musical shows and lighted fountains, but these massive entertainment venues are found throughout the world. Some of them are so famous that they become destinations in their own right. This article takes a look at some of the most famous casinos in the world, how they make their money, the history behind them and the dark side of the gambling industry.
The modern casino is much like an indoor amusement park for adults, with a large percentage of its profits coming from games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and other popular games provide the billions in profits that casinos rake in each year. While the games of chance have an element of skill, most have a built-in mathematical advantage for the house that is called the house edge. In addition, many casinos charge a fee for dealing cards or taking a commission on video poker plays, called the rake.
While casinos are primarily a form of gambling, they also offer food, drinks and entertainment. Those who visit them usually have an overall good experience, but there is always the risk of compulsive gambling or other addictions. Studies suggest that the amount spent on treating problem gamblers and lost productivity from them cancel out any gains casinos gain from their operations. This has led some to advocate limiting the number of casinos in the United States and imposing stricter regulations on their operations.