The Dark Side of Casinos


The word casino brings to mind flashing lights, glamorous women in evening gowns, and gambling. While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers help draw in the crowds, casinos would not exist without games of chance like slots, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat, which provide the billions in profits raked in by U.S. casinos each year.

Casinos are not merely social clubs, though; they’re big businesses that must be run with an eye on profitability and customer service. To that end, casinos employ a variety of security measures. For example, a casino’s high-tech surveillance systems offer a “eye-in-the-sky” view of every table and changeable window from a control room stocked with banks of security monitors. These cameras can be manipulated to focus on suspicious patrons by security workers.

In addition, some casinos are staffed by people who’ve been trained to recognize the telltale signs of compulsive gambling, and to spot players who might be making large bets on a regular basis. These employees can then halt the play of those patrons and ask them to leave.

Despite the fact that casinos are big business and that their customers come from all walks of life, there’s a dark side to them as well. Studies indicate that a large percentage of casino revenue comes from addicted gamblers, and that the money lost by those who succumb to this addiction more than offsets any economic gains a casino might bring to a city or state.