The Casino Business Model Explained


From the glitz of Las Vegas’ mega-resorts to the illegal pai gow parlors of New York City, casinos lure patrons in with the promise of riches. But what the bright lights and giveaways hide is a business model with built-in advantages that ensure the house will always win—a fact proven by math and statistics, not just by Hollywood plotlines.

Casinos make their money through games of chance or, in the case of poker and certain other table games, by taking a percentage of each player’s wagers. Some casinos also offer complimentary items to gamblers, called comps. The value of these depends on the amount of money a gambler spends. Players may receive free food and drinks, hotel rooms or tickets to shows. The most valuable gamblers may even get limo service and airline tickets, depending on the size of their bets and the casino’s policies.

Because of the large amounts of currency handled within casinos, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal. To counter this, security measures are put into place. Security cameras are located throughout the casino, and employees watch over patrons and games with a keen eye for anything out of the ordinary. Routines and patterns are followed closely by security staff, allowing them to spot anything that deviates from normal behavior, such as palming or marking cards.

Gambling can be a social activity, especially in the form of table games, where patrons often talk to each other or shout encouragement. In addition, a good portion of casino games require some degree of skill. But if you think you can beat the odds and leave the tables with a bundle of cash in your pocket, you should first learn more about the game’s rules and strategies.