American casinos offer the patron a dazzling array of slot machines, plus craps, roulette, and baccarat. Some casinos have poker games (usually stud) while others, catering to small-time players, offer chuck-a-luck, bingo, keno, and a variety of well-known games.
In France, you'll find faro more often, plus "trente et quarante" and "French Bank", two simple games that aren't played in the U.S., or in England.
Slot machines are a relative rarity outside the U.S., but by far the most popular form of gambling, when and where they appear in numbers.
The odds against the player on the slots are staggering. The only worse game is state-run lotteries where, by statute, the house has a 50 percent advantage. The slot machine - a most ingenious device -can be set by the house to take you for any percentage desired.
The average is between 25 and 70 percent of everything deposited. This means you can expect to lose 25 cents of every dollar you put into a slot machine - and don't be surprised if it's 70 cents, or even more.
The only limit on the greed of the house is what it thinks the public will put up with.
In actual practice, the best slots tend to be found near the front doors of big casinos. They are there for the same reason that so-called loss leaders are stacked up at the ends of the aisles in your local supermarket: they attract more customers to the higher-priced merchandise.
If you are a tourist in Las Vegas, or Atlantic City, just take a stroll past the big gambling houses, and you look through the open door and see a big, shiny, inviting slot machine dumping a pile of nickels into the lap of some happy gambler, aren't you going to be just a little tempted?
And what if you do decide to spend a buffalo or two, just to see what will happen, and you win five dollars? Aren't you likely to look with favor on the idea of spending a bit more time, and money, in the casino?
If you feel that way, don't you suppose most other people will, too?
If you answered yes, you're already thinking like a casino owner.
As you work your way back from the casino door, the slots begin to keep a larger percentage of each dollar invested in them. Gambling-house managers have more than one trick up their sleeves.
Not only it is a fallacy to suppose that you're twice as likely to win if you play two machines at once, but casinos often have it set up so you're more than twice as likely to lose.