The House Edge in Casino Gambling

A casino is a captivating and vibrant entertainment establishment that lures individuals with the promise of excitement and intrigue. While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers help to attract patrons, casinos wouldn’t exist without games of chance such as roulette, craps, baccarat, blackjack, video poker and slot machines. These games, and others like them, provide the billions of dollars in profits that U.S. casinos rake in each year for the corporations, investors and Native American tribes that own them.

But unlike other businesses that rely on customers to make money, casinos aren’t charitable organizations that throw free money at people who play their games. They have a built-in advantage in each game that ensures that they, not the players, will come out ahead over time. This mathematical expectancy is known as the house edge.

As you might imagine, the casino industry has a complex web of security and regulatory measures that keep things running smoothly. These include cameras, trained personnel and intricate rules that thwart cheating and protect players.

Those rules also cover everything from the types of gambling that can take place to who is allowed to gamble there. The majority of casino gamblers are middle-class families and older adults who have a high amount of disposable income and plenty of vacation time. This is according to two surveys conducted in 2005 by Roper Reports GfK NOP and TNS, with face-to-face interviews with 2,000 American adults and questionnaires mailed to 100,000.