How to Win Big at a Casino

Whether you’re pulling the lever on a slot machine or rolling dice on the craps table, a casino is the place to satisfy your gambling itch. And while casinos may not offer the same raw excitement as a street corner or a back alley, they still have plenty to offer – from free drinks and snacks to spectacular shows and even hotel rooms.

The casino business began in Nevada in 1931, and its expansion into other states was stifled by state law until the mob started investing large sums of money. Eventually, real estate investors and hotel chains with deeper pockets bought out the mob’s stakes in casinos and kept them running without the taint of Mafia involvement.

Every game in a casino has a built-in advantage for the house, which is usually less than two percent, but adds up over millions of bets. This advantage, which is called the “house edge,” covers overhead costs and gives the casino a net profit. In games such as poker and video poker, the house also collects a small percentage of each bet, which is called the rake.

Casino employees see thousands of people gamble each week and know which machines are hot. Be sure to tip them generously if they help you, but don’t ask which slots are the hottest – that’s against company policy and could cost you your job. The most successful gamblers are known as high rollers, and they’re courted with extravagant inducements such as limo service, hotel rooms, show tickets, and reduced-fare transportation.