The Casino Industry – A Brief History

Beneath the flashing lights and free cocktails, casinos are built on a foundation of math and engineering designed to slowly bleed their patrons of money. For years mathematically inclined people have tried to turn the tables, using their knowledge of probability and game theory to exploit flaws in a system that has been carefully engineered to give the house an advantage.

But despite the odds, millions of people continue to gamble. They risk their hard earned money at the craps tables, blackjack and roulette wheels. And although they may win and lose, the overall average is a positive one. This is why the casino industry has been able to grow so large.

In addition to the games themselves, casinos offer a range of extras that help keep players happy. This might include free drinks, stage shows and dramatic scenery. The most luxurious casinos even feature hotels, restaurants, non-gambling gaming rooms and spas. But there have also been less ostentatious places that still house gambling activities.

A typical casino has a built in statistical edge, sometimes as low as two percent. This small amount of money earned over time by the millions of bets placed by players gives the casino enough funds to build grand hotels, fountains and replicas of famous pyramids and towers.

Many people might not realize that the word casino actually has a Latin origin, meaning “public place.” The first true casino opened in Copenhagen in 1828 and was used for public meetings. In the United States, Atlantic City became a major casino destination in the 1960s. It was in that decade that Iowa passed laws allowing for legalized gambling. From there, more states followed suit. Nevada was the first state to open a large number of casinos, creating a gaming destination for tourists from all over the world.