When people hear the word casino, they think of high-energy entertainment, a place where they can try their luck at games that range from slot machines to blackjack and roulette. The bright lights, flashing machines and free drinks entice gamblers to the tables. Musical shows, lighted fountains, luxury hotels and shopping centers are also often associated with casinos. While these features help to draw in the crowds, casinos would not exist without games of chance. The billions of dollars raked in by casinos every year come from gambling.
In order to keep the house edge as low as possible, casinos take many steps to attract and retain customers. Free food and drink can keep players on the floor longer, although it might also get them intoxicated, which reduces their ability to think clearly and make good decisions. Casinos use chips instead of real money to distract players from thinking about how much they are losing. They may also offer ATM machines to help people withdraw cash when they need to.
The best way for casino managers to determine how to maximize profits is to know both the house edge and variance for each game. They can find these numbers by asking the mathematicians and computer programmers who work in the gaming industry. Then they can adjust their games and pay out winnings appropriately. They can even reward the most loyal patrons with comps, which are free goods or services that are based on how much the player spends.