Gambling in the United States

Gambling is an important part of American life, and the country has a wide variety of casinos to meet every kind of gambler’s needs. You’ll find everything from baccarat to poker in a casino near you, and the United States is home to some of the world’s biggest poker events, too!

The History of Casinos

Gambling has a long and storied history in the United States. The first modern casinos were built in Nevada during the 1930s, and it wasn’t until the 1970s that they started to spread out across the country. Today, the biggest gambling cities are Las Vegas, Atlantic City and New Orleans.

How Casinos Work

Most casinos have security forces that patrol the property and respond to reports of suspicious activity or unauthorized people entering the establishment. They use both physical surveillance and specialized closed circuit television to monitor the casino floor, especially at slot machines, to keep out bad actors.

The House Edge

Most games have a mathematically determined house edge, which means that the casino has an advantage over the player at all times. The house takes a percentage of the money won by the player, called the rake.


Casinos often give “comps” to players, which are free goods or services such as hotel rooms, dinners and tickets to shows. This helps keep the player on the casino floor and makes them less likely to leave, which reduces the house edge.


In the 1990s, casinos began using computerized systems to track betting chips and monitor roulette wheels and other electronic game tables. These systems help the casino to keep track of wagers and predict trends in player behavior.