Beneath the veneer of flashing lights and free drinks, casinos rest on a bedrock of mathematics that is engineered to slowly drain their patrons of cash. For years, mathematically inclined minds have tried to use their knowledge of probability and game theory to beat the house but with little success.
Gambling is social in nature. Patrons are seated near other gamblers or in groups at table games and are encouraged to shout encouragement. Alcoholic beverages are readily available and delivered to players at their tables or at slot machines by waiters circulating throughout the casino. Nonalcoholic drinks and snacks are also served at no charge.
Casinos are built on land that is either privately owned or leased. Some are adorned with fountains, giant pyramids and towers or replicas of famous landmarks. While there is a stereotype that casinos are seedy backroom gambling parlors, the reality is that large casinos are professional enterprises with security guards and police on the premises to prevent crime against patrons.
Casinos make money by charging a commission on all bets placed at the games. This is known as the vig or rake and varies depending on the game and the rules set by the casino. In addition, some casinos make money by giving out complimentary items to gamblers, a practice called comping. In some cases, this can amount to a significant sum of money, especially for high rollers. Those who gamble large amounts of money for extended periods of time are sometimes given free hotel rooms, dinners, show tickets or even limo service and airline tickets.