A casino, or gambling house, is an establishment that offers a variety of games of chance for the public to gamble in. Games may include dice, card games such as poker and blackjack, and table games such as roulette and craps. A few casinos also offer electronic gaming machines. Casinos are most often located in urban areas, and some are open around the clock. Some are regulated by law to control their operations and minimize the risk of crime.
Gambling is a popular form of entertainment that has been seen in most societies throughout history. People play games of chance, or skill in some cases, for a small percentage of the money deposited as bets. Some people are addicted to gambling, and some studies suggest that this portion of the patron population generates a disproportionate share of the revenue for casinos. Critics argue that casinos encourage people to spend money they don’t have, and hurt property values in nearby neighborhoods.
Something about the presence of large amounts of cash seems to encourage both patrons and casino staff to cheat or steal, in collusion with each other or independently. Because of the large amount of money involved, casinos are heavily guarded and rely on technology to prevent this. For example, every slot machine in a modern casino is wired to a central computer that monitors its performance minute by minute, alerting technicians to any statistical deviation from the expected return. In addition, casino security officers are constantly patrolling the floor, and high-tech “eyes in the sky” allow a casino to observe its entire facility from a single room.