Casino is the name given to any place where a variety of games of chance are played for money or other prizes. Modern casinos add many luxuries to this basic definition, including restaurants, free drinks and stage shows, but the games of chance remain the primary draw for millions of visitors each year. Before the modern age of glitz and glamour, gambling took place in taverns, inns and other small establishments that could only dream of the grand casinos that now adorn cities all over the world.
While the glitz and glamor of the modern casino may help to attract the gamblers, it is the casino’s gaming that provides the billions of dollars in profits that keep them in business. Slot machines, blackjack, poker and other table games provide the thrills that gamblers seek to win money. The casino itself makes its money by charging a fee for each game played, called the house edge or variance. Casinos use mathematical analysis to predict the average profit per game and to monitor their gaming activity for any suspicious patterns that might suggest cheating or other problems.
There are plenty of movies that portray Las Vegas in the guise of partying and weekend getaways, but few have explored the underlying darkness and criminal connections that the city is known for. Martin Scorsese’s Casino does just that, combining the gangster element of gambling with opulence and casino glamour in a movie that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.