What Is a Casino?

A casino is a place where people gamble by using different types of games of chance. Casinos can range in size from massive resort casinos to small card rooms and even a few slot machines in bars and grocery stores. Successful casinos generate billions of dollars each year for the owners, investors and Native American tribes. They also bring in visitors from other states and countries. But some economists argue that the costs of treating compulsive gamblers and lost productivity from gambling addicts can reverse any economic benefits that a casino might provide to a community.

Casinos rely heavily on technology to maintain their edge over patrons. Elaborate surveillance systems give security personnel a “eye-in-the-sky” view of every table, change window and doorway. They can adjust the cameras to focus on suspicious patrons and detect anomalies. Computerized “chip tracking” systems monitor betting chips minute by minute and alert casino management if any are missing. Roulette wheels are electronically monitored to detect any statistical deviations from expected results.

Besides technology, casinos have a keen eye for customer service and offer a variety of incentives to keep people gambling. Big bettors are often rewarded with free spectacular entertainment, luxury transportation and suites. They may also be given reduced-fare travel packages and hotel rooms, buffet meals and complimentary show tickets. During the 1970s, Las Vegas casinos were famous for offering these perks to their high rollers in an effort to fill as many hotel rooms and gambling tables as possible.