The Casino of the Twenty-First Century


Casino is a place where people gamble on games of chance. A modern casino may be an elaborate affair, with a stage show, shopping centers and luxurious hotels, but it would not exist without the games of chance, such as blackjack, roulette, poker, craps, keno and slot machines, that generate billions in profits each year. While free drinks, restaurants and even stage shows help to attract patrons, casinos are primarily places for gambling, with the other activities simply providing luxuries and extras.

In the twenty-first century, casinos are choosier about who they allow to play their games. They tend to focus on high rollers, who often gamble in special rooms separate from the main casino floor. The stakes in these rooms can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. In return, high rollers receive a great deal of comps (free money) that can be worth more than the actual amount they gamble.

The demographics of casino gamblers have also changed. According to a study by Roper Reports GfK NOP, in 2005, the typical American casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old female from a household with above-average income. This age group, which has more vacation time and disposable income than younger people, accounted for about 23% of casino gamblers.

In addition, casino security has become increasingly sophisticated. Casinos use cameras that give them an “eye-in-the-sky” look at the entire gambling floor, and these can be shifted to focus on specific suspicious patrons by security workers in a room filled with banks of security monitors. Security personnel also rely on the expected routines of casino gamblers, such as how they move around a table or react to particular events, to spot out-of-the-ordinary behavior.