What is a Casino?

A casino, or gambling establishment, is a place where people can try their luck at games of chance. Often casinos offer table games like blackjack, roulette, poker and craps, as well as slot machines. They may also include other attractions like restaurants, bars and stage shows.

Many factors influence a person’s decision to gamble. Some casinos emphasize a glamorous image to attract players; others focus on providing comfortable surroundings, food and drink, and entertainment. Gambling addiction is a serious problem, with studies showing that compulsive gamblers drain casinos of a significant portion of their profits. Some critics argue that casinos do more harm than good to local economies, as they shift spending away from other forms of entertainment and divert money to treatment for gambling addiction.

In addition to the usual games of chance, some casinos also feature traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo (which spread to several European and American casinos in the 1990s), fan-tan, and pai gow. Some have card tables offering various poker variants, including baccarat in French-speaking countries and trente et quarante in Italy.

Security in a casino begins on the floor, where employees keep an eye on patrons and watch out for cheating. Table games are watched more closely, with pit bosses and managers keeping a close eye on table behavior for signs of palming or marking cards. Electronic surveillance systems provide a high-tech “eye in the sky” that can zoom in on suspicious gamblers. In addition, betting chips have microcircuitry that allow them to be tracked minute-by-minute; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored for any statistical deviation from their expected results.