A casino is a building or room in which games of chance are played. Modern casinos offer a variety of entertainment, including table games like blackjack, craps, roulette and poker, as well as slot machines and Keno. They also feature top-notch hotels, spas and restaurants. But, as the etymology of the word suggests, even less extravagant places that house gambling activities can be called casinos.
Casinos are located throughout the world and provide billions in annual profits. While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels help draw in the crowds, the true economic engine of a casino is gambling.
The math behind casino games makes it virtually impossible for a patron to lose on a particular game in the long run, and thus casinos are able to guarantee their gross profit. As a result, they can afford to offer big bettors extravagant inducements like free spectacular entertainment and luxury hotel rooms. Casinos are also known to offer reduced-fare transportation, free meals and drinks while gambling, elegant living quarters and even free travel or vacation packages.
Something about casinos seems to encourage cheating, theft and scams. This may be because the sheer amount of money on the tables is so mind-boggling that it’s tempting to try to steal a little, or because people have a tendency to see an opportunity to improve their own fortunes by stealing someone else’s. As a result, casinos spend enormous amounts of time, effort and money on security. Elaborate surveillance systems include “eye-in-the-sky” cameras that can be adjusted to focus on a suspicious patron from a separate room filled with banks of security monitors.