What You Need to Know Before You Play at a Casino

What You Need to Know Before You Play at a Casino


From the glittering lights of Las Vegas to the pai gow tables of New York’s Chinatown, casinos draw visitors from around the world. Whether they’re the lavish resorts of Las Vegas or the little card rooms on the edges of the city, they bring in billions of dollars every year for casino owners, investors, local governments and Native American tribes.

But there’s one thing you need to know before you play: a casino is a business, and like any other business it has to make money. That’s why all casino games have a built in advantage for the house, which can be as low as two percent. That edge, along with the vig or rake charged on bets, makes the casino money.

Casinos also make money by charging patrons for things such as food, drinks and entertainment. They also have to spend a lot on security. Something about gambling (perhaps it’s the fact that large amounts of money are handled) encourages people to cheat and steal, and many casinos spend a lot of time, effort and money on security.

A casino’s reputation is also a big factor in drawing people. The storied Monte Carlo Casino, for example, was once a playground for Europe’s royalty and aristocracy, and it has been featured in movies, books and television. Its red-and-gold poker rooms, adorned with the kind of baroque flourishes that would make Marlene Dietrich say, “I love it,” are still popular, as are the hundreds of slot machines and blackjack tables.