What is a Casino?

A casino is a place where gambling activities take place. Though the word ’casino’ is most often used to describe places like Las Vegas and Monte Carlo, there are many less lavish establishments that house gambling games that would also be considered casinos. Casinos usually add luxuries such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows to attract and keep patrons. The basic casino business model involves a built in advantage for the house, typically lower than two percent for table games and slot machines. The house edge makes casinos profitable over the long term, enabling them to build enormous hotels and impressive architectural monuments such as fountains, pyramids and towers of replicas of famous landmarks.

The social aspect of casino gambling distinguishes it from other forms of gaming such as lotteries and Internet gambling. Many people go to casinos with friends or in groups, and the noise, lights and excitement make the environment partylike. The ambiance can be further heightened by the fact that players interact with one another at table games such as blackjack and roulette, or are surrounded by other people at the casino’s video poker machines.

The large amount of money handled by casinos makes them a target for fraud and theft, either in collusion between patrons or by staff members. To discourage this, casinos employ security measures such as closed circuit television and physical security forces. Some casinos have specialized departments for electronic surveillance. These often include “chip tracking,” where betting chips with built in microcircuitry enable the casino to monitor exactly how much is wagered minute by minute, and alert patrons of any statistical deviations from expected results.

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