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What Is a Casino?


Casino (plural casinos) is an establishment that offers the opportunity to gamble in games of chance and, in some cases, skill. Most casinos feature tables and slot machines, with some offering live entertainment and top-notch hotels and restaurants. Some casinos also offer complimentary items to gamblers, known as comps.

A successful casino can generate billions in annual revenue for the owners, investors, companies and Native American tribes that run them. However, casinos also cause societal problems, such as underage gambling and problem gambling.

Security in a casino starts with a security camera network that gives management a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” view of the entire facility. Employees watch patrons to make sure nobody is cheating by palming chips or marking cards, and table managers and pit bosses watch players’ betting patterns to see if anyone is taking advantage of other patrons. Each table is also watched by a higher-up person, who can quickly adjust the camera to zero in on suspected behavior.

To encourage regular play, most casinos have loyalty programs that reward large bettors with free or discounted rooms, meals and shows. Gamblers swipe a card when they enter and the casino computers keep track of their spending habits. The cards allow the casinos to develop a patron database for marketing purposes as well. Comps are based on a percentage of total play, so low-spending players aren’t eligible for freebies. Something about the casino business – maybe the presence of large sums of money – seems to inspire people to try to cheat, steal or scam their way into a jackpot. That’s why casinos devote so much time and effort on security.