The Casino Advantage

Whether it’s for a night of fluttering on the roulette wheel or a few cold ones at the bar, a casino is the place to be if you’re looking to indulge in a little gambling. But while it may seem like pure chance, a casino is not the kind of business that throws free money away. Like any other business, a casino needs to ensure that its profits match up with the losses of its patrons. To do this, it has built-in advantages that ensure that, over time, the house always wins. These advantages, known as the house edge or vigorish, are built into the games that it offers. Players who can eliminate these advantages, by learning the game’s rules and practicing, are called advantage players.

The precise origins of gambling are unknown, but it is believed to have existed in many societies throughout history, including Ancient Mesopotamia and the Roman Empire. In the United States, the first legal casinos were established in Atlantic City in 1978 and on American Indian reservations, which are exempt from state anti-gambling laws. During the 1980s, many states amended their gambling laws to permit casinos.

Modern casinos are heavily regulated to protect their patrons and assets. They employ a combination of physical security forces and specialized departments that operate closed circuit television systems, to monitor all activity within the facility. In addition, a casino’s staff is trained to spot suspicious behavior and to report it to the appropriate authorities.