The modern casino is much more than a collection of slot machines, blackjack tables and poker rooms. Musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels add to the attraction. But gambling, and the billions of dollars it generates each year for casinos, is what brings in the customers.

While gambling in some form or another has existed since early history, the modern casino was not introduced until the 16th century. Until then, wealthy Europeans would hold private parties in places known as ridotti. Today’s casinos are often more luxurious than the ridotti of old. The casino industry attracts people from all walks of life. But there are a few things that every gambler should know before they walk through the door.

How do casinos make money?

Casinos generate billions of dollars each year in profits for the companies, investors and Native American tribes that own and operate them. They also bring in tourists, which translates into economic growth for the cities and states that host them. Casinos are also big business in Macau, the “Vegas of the East,” where gaming is king.

While there are some games that require a high degree of skill (such as poker), the vast majority of casino gambling involves chance. Most casino games have built in statistical advantages for the house, which can be very small (less than two percent) or extremely large (tens of thousands of percent). Regardless of the game, however, the casino makes money by taking in wagers and collecting commissions on those that lose.