The Casino is More Than Just a Glitzy Hotel

When you enter these opulent temples of decadence, gambling becomes more than just an activity—it’s elevated to an art form. From the ornate opulence of the Hippodrome Casino in London to the towering glass-and-steel splendor of the Grand Lisboa in Macau, east Asia’s version of Las Vegas, these casinos ooze history and charm while tempting you to up the ante.

As much as you might enjoy the glitz and glamour, there’s one thing every gambler should keep in mind: Casinos are business, not charitable organizations throwing free money away. Each game has a built-in statistical advantage for the house—which can be as low as two percent—but over time, it adds up enough to make the casino an incredibly profitable enterprise.

These advantages may be tiny, but over millions of bets, they’re a major source of revenue that allows the casino to lavish attention on its patrons and their surroundings. Elaborate hotels, fountains and replicas of famous landmarks all come from this money.

Casinos also use technology to help them monitor their operations and protect against cheating. Video cameras provide an “eye-in-the-sky” that can watch every table, window and doorway in real time. Some casinos also use microcircuitry in betting chips to track the exact amounts being wagered minute by minute, while roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any deviation from their expected results. Lastly, slot machines provide a steady stream of cash from high volume and rapid play at sums that can be as low as five cents.