When people think of casinos, images of bright lights and big money come to mind. That’s because casinos are more than just gambling houses: They also offer dining, stage shows and dramatic scenery to lure gamblers. But even before Las Vegas became synonymous with casino, there were less glamorous places that housed gambling activities.
From the earliest times, people have enjoyed games of chance. They may have played a game of dice or cards for a small stake, a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. In the early 20th century, several American states amended their antigambling laws to permit casinos. Some casinos were built on American Indian reservations, which are not subject to state laws regulating gaming.
Casinos make money by imposing an edge on all bettors, whether they are playing slot machines or card games. That advantage is usually less than two percent, but it adds up over millions of bets. This is the profit that makes a casino viable, and it allows the owners to build elaborate hotels, fountains and towers and to hire stars to perform in their entertainment venues.
A casino’s “good” players are rewarded with free hotel rooms, meals and show tickets. They may even be given limo service or airline tickets for large wagers. In addition to the perks of gambling, casino customers are often entertained with live music and comedy acts.