During the 1990s, casinos boosted their technology budgets. Video cameras and computers routinely supervise casino games. New gambling technologies, such as “chip tracking,” allow casinos to track wagers minute by minute. The roulette wheel is also regularly monitored for statistical deviations, and enclosed versions of popular games, such as slots and video poker, allow players to place bets by pushing buttons. Casinos are increasingly reliant on technology to improve the quality of their customer service.
Many people who gamble at casinos are addicted to the games, resulting in disproportionate profits for casinos. Studies estimate that five percent of casino patrons are addicted to gambling and contribute 25 percent of all casino profits. Although casinos are popular and draw players from many cities, economic studies have shown that casinos actually reduce local spending by shifting money away from other forms of local entertainment. These negative effects of casinos can offset the economic gains of the casinos. Moreover, the lost productivity and treatment of problem gamblers often offset any positive effects of casinos.
In addition to gambling, casino customers can also partake in other activities. Games at casinos can include table games, random number games, and even other types of gaming. Most games offer a predictable edge to the house, but they also have the possibility of large short-term gains. In addition, some casino games also require skill, and advantage players are those who have sufficient skills to eliminate the house edge. The casino’s house edge, known as rake, is determined by the house.