A Casino is a place where people can play games of chance and win money. While musical shows, lighted fountains, elaborate hotels and shopping centers help draw customers in, the vast majority of the profits that casinos generate are from gambling activities. Games of chance include slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and video poker. In games where players compete against one another, the house earns its profit by taking a commission from each bet, a practice known as vigorish or rake.
The most popular casino game is the slot machine, which allows a player to deposit a certain amount of money and then watch as varying bands of colored shapes roll on reels (either an actual physical reel or a video representation). The slot machine’s popularity stems from its simplicity: a player simply inserts paper tickets or electronic credit, pulls a handle or pushes a button, and if the right combination appears, he or she wins a predetermined amount of money.
To attract and retain big spenders, casinos offer “comps” — free goods or services based on the amount of money a patron gambles. Typical comps include food, hotel rooms, show tickets and reduced-fare transportation. Some casinos even reward their best patrons with limo service and airline tickets. Casinos also use technology to ensure fairness. For example, roulette wheels are monitored electronically to quickly discover any statistical deviations from expected value; and betting chips have built-in microcircuitry that allow casinos to monitor the exact amounts of money wagered minute by minute.