A casino is a place where people play games of chance. These games include slot machines, black jack, roulette, craps and keno. Casinos generate billions in profit every year. They can be found in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Macau and other locations around the world.
Almost all casino games have built in advantages for the house. These can be very small (less than two percent) but they add up over the millions of bets placed by gamblers each year. This edge, or “house edge,” allows casinos to pay out winning bets and make a profit. In some games, the house also takes a fee or commission from players called a vig or rake.
Casinos employ sophisticated technology to monitor gambling activities and prevent cheating. For example, the chips used in casino games are micro-circuited and can be tracked by computer to verify that they are being played as intended; roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any statistical deviations from their expected values. Casinos also use video cameras to supervise patrons and employees and to prevent tampering with game results.
Despite their often seedy image, casinos are profitable businesses. In 2005, the typical American casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with above average income. This demographic makes up the majority of casino gamblers, according to data from Roper Reports and TNS/Nielsen.