What Makes a Casino So Exotic?

Venice, Monaco, Singapore — pair these exotic destinations with casinos and you get the idea that winning at slots and blackjack and rolling the dice is a thrilling experience, something people often experience vicariously in casino-themed movies. But while musical shows, dazzling fountains and shopping centers might draw in the crowds, it’s gambling that drives billions in profits for casinos every year.

The word casino derives from the Italian casina, meaning a small clubhouse where members meet for social occasions, like card games and drinking. It was only when the popularity of the gambling industry grew in the second half of the 19th century that casinos became more widespread.

Modern casinos are much more choosy about who they let gamble there, concentrating their investments on those they consider “high rollers.” Those people often gamble in special rooms away from the main floor and have bets worth tens of thousands of dollars. In return, they get comps (free goods or services) such as free hotel rooms and meals, free show tickets and limo service.

Security is a huge priority for the businesses that run casinos. The employees who work the floor have to be able to keep their eyes on patrons to see if anyone is cheating or stealing, and they have to know how to spot a suspicious betting pattern. Most casinos also have higher-ups who watch each of their employees to make sure they are following the rules.