What is a Casino?

A casino is a place where people can play games of chance and win money. These establishments are found all over the world and range in size from massive resorts to small card rooms. Some casinos are combined with hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions, while others stand alone. People can also find these gambling houses in cruise ships, on racetracks and at racinos (casino-type game machines at horse races).

Casinos try to make their patrons feel special and happy while they are there. They use bright and sometimes gaudy floor and wall coverings to create a stimulating and cheering effect, and they minimize the awareness of passing time by not putting any clocks on their walls. They offer free food and drinks to keep gamblers in their seats, and they use chips instead of real money to reduce the fear of losing it all.

Something about gambling seems to encourage some people to cheat or steal, so casinos devote a great deal of time and effort to security. The casino floor is patrolled by people who watch patrons and look for blatant cheating, and the games themselves are frequently monitored with sophisticated technology: chip tracking allows casinos to monitor exactly how much is being wagered minute-by-minute; roulette wheels are electronically supervised to quickly discover any statistical deviation from their expected results; and video cameras are used to keep an eye on everything at all times.

Despite the large amount of revenue they bring in, critics argue that casinos harm their local economies by taking money away from other forms of entertainment and by creating gambling addicts. In addition, studies show that the cost of treating problem gambling and lost productivity from people who work in casinos offsets any economic benefits they may generate.