The Casino Business Model

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Modern casinos are like indoor amusement parks for adults, with the vast majority of the entertainment (and profits for the owners) coming from games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat provide the billions of dollars in profits that U.S. casinos rake in every year. Unlike the old-time saloons, where people gambled in private rooms and drank whiskey, casino games are played publicly. Often, these gambling halls feature a variety of other attractions to make the experience more enjoyable for visitors. These might include musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers, lavish hotels and elaborate themes.

Even with all of this money floating around, casinos have a very clear business model designed to ensure that they and not their customers will always come out ahead. Each game has a built-in advantage for the house, known as its “house edge.” Casinos are not charitable organizations that throw away free money; they are businesses that make a profit by taking more than they spend on each patron.

To maximize their revenue, casinos concentrate their investments on high rollers who spend a lot of money. These big bettors are rewarded with extravagant inducements like free luxury suites and personal attention from casino employees. Casinos also employ a large staff of security professionals to keep an eye on the floor and patrons to prevent cheating, such as marking or switching cards, or simply stealing chips from other players.