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Gambling is the main attraction to Las Vegas. Nine out of ten visitors gamble while on vacation in Las Vegas (1). In 2000, the visitor volume was 35.8 million. During that year, $ 31.5 billion was brought in through visitor spending where $7.7 billion was from gaming alone (2). The average gambler spent $665 on gaming during the visit (2). Gambling is not just about winning or losing money. It can also be about earning free things!


Comps come in many forms. Comps can be as small as a free cocktail for playing a penny slot machine all the way to free nights in the penthouse of a luxurious hotel on the strip.

To earn comps, you must first be rated by the casino. It sounds intimidating, but it's very easy. All you do is fill out a simple information sheet and you are given a players card for that casino. Whenever you play any game, you are rated and the information is kept on your card.

Comps are calculated by multiplying your average bet by the amount of time you play by the house advantage (1). Slot machines have a place where you slide your card in. The lights around this slot will change from red to green when it recognizes your information. You must leave your card in the slot during the entire time you play the machine. Before you sit down at a table, show them your players card and the pit boss will come over and fill out a sheet with the time and how much you are betting. At the end, this information will be added to your rating.

Most Popular Casino Games


Blackjack is the most popular casino game because you can come away a winner (3). The player and dealer are dealt two cards each. The goal of the game is to come as close to 21 as possible and beat the dealer's hand without going over, also called a bust. If both the player and the dealer hold the same total, the hand is called a push and nobody earns or loses money (3). Each card is counted as face value. Face cards count as ten and aces can either be counted as one or eleven, whichever benefits the player more.


Roulette is played on a wheel with the numbers one through thirty-six, along with a zero and a double zero (00). Eighteen of the numbers are black and eighteen red. The zero and double zero are both green. Players place their bets on any number or numbers and the dealer spins the wheel in one direction and throws the ball into the wheel in the opposite direction (3). When the wheel stops, the results are announced and winners are payed off.

Slot Machines

Slot machines are fun, but the odds of winning money are not in the player's favor. The good thing about slot machines is that different machines require different denominations of money. Some machines are only a penny, but these are harder to find. The lowest denomination in most casinos is five cents. You can also find machines requiring twenty-five cents, fifty, a dollar and two dollars. The lower the denomination you choose, the longer your money will last.

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Alisabeth Black 2004