What Is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. In the United States, casinos are most often found in the cities of Las Vegas and Atlantic City and are famous for their elaborate themes, dazzling lights and high-stakes games. In addition to gambling, casinos often feature restaurants, hotels and other entertainment options.

Because large amounts of money are handled within a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. To prevent these problems, casinos employ a variety of security measures. Cameras throughout the facility provide a constant stream of footage that can be reviewed for suspicious activity. In addition, tables and slot machines are wired to electronic systems that allow them to be overseen minute-by-minute for any statistical deviations.

In recent years, casinos have stepped up their use of technology to monitor and improve the quality of their gaming operations. Many have introduced electronic chips with built-in microcircuitry that interact with the machine and record the outcome of each game; a computer program then reviews the results and alerts the dealer to any discrepancies. Other innovations include “chip tracking,” where each betting chip has a tiny sensor that detects the amount of money wagered on each spin; and a system in which roulette wheels are electronically monitored for any statistical anomalies.

Casinos draw millions of people every year, who spend billions of dollars. In 2005, the average casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old female from a household with above-average income who had taken a vacation in the past two years. Casinos compete for these visitors by offering a wide variety of promotions and discounts, particularly in the form of “comps” (complimentary or free items).