What Is a Casino?

A casino, or gaming house, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Many casinos are combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and other tourist attractions. In addition to traditional table games, such as blackjack and roulette, most casinos feature a wide range of slot machines. Some also offer far eastern games, such as sic bo (which spread to several European and American casinos during the 1990s), fan-tan, and pai gow.

The casino is a major source of revenue for many cities and states. However, it is not without its critics. Some argue that casino gambling shifts spending away from other forms of local entertainment, and that the social costs of compulsive gambling – including crime, divorce, substance abuse, and lost productivity – more than offset any economic benefits.

Something about the presence of large amounts of money seems to encourage people to cheat, lie, and scam their way into winning a jackpot. That’s why casinos spend a lot of time and money on security. Casino security begins on the floor, where casino employees keep a close eye on patrons to spot anything out of the ordinary. Pit bosses and table managers have a broader view, overseeing the tables to watch for betting patterns that could indicate cheating. Casinos also use technology to monitor games themselves: chip tracking systems enable them to oversee betting patterns minute by minute, and electronic roulette wheels can detect any statistical deviation from expected results.