From the time miners chasing gold in the Sierra Nevada took breaks to play a few hands of poker at the local card room, casinos have enjoyed a special place in the hearts of Americans. Today, they are massive resorts that attract gamblers from all over the world and offer a wide variety of games of chance and skill, from slots and video poker to blackjack, roulette, and even horse racing.
Because large amounts of money are handled in casinos, there is always the potential for patrons or staff to cheat or steal. This is why casinos spend a great deal of time and money on security. Among other things, they have cameras throughout the casino and enforce rules of behavior to prevent cheating.
Many casinos specialize in specific types of gambling. For example, some focus on baccarat, while others offer sic bo or fan-tan. A few casinos have Far Eastern games such as two-up and banca francesa, and some European casinos offer kalooki and boule.
Casinos make money by charging a small percentage of each bet to the players. This is often called the house edge and it may be as low as a couple of percent, but it adds up over the millions of bets placed in casinos each year. It is this money that allows casinos to build spectacular hotels, fountains, and replicas of famous landmarks. The casinos also earn money from the ‘vigorish’ or ‘rake’ on table games and slot machines.