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What is a Casino?

A casino is a place where people can exchange money for chips to gamble with. These games of chance are what draw in patrons and generate the billions in profits casinos rake in each year. Although the modern casino may add entertainment shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers to lure customers in, gambling remains its core activity.

While slot machines and video poker machines are the economic mainstay of American casinos, table games like roulette, baccarat, blackjack and craps bring in most of the big bucks. Despite their high house edges, these games are attractive to big bettors who can offset the long-term losses by playing for high amounts for short periods of time. Casinos employ sophisticated mathematical techniques, referred to as gaming mathematicians and gaming analysts, to ensure their profits.

Casinos also use technology to supervise the games themselves. In some cases, betting chips have built-in microcircuitry to enable the casinos to oversee minute-by-minute wagers; roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any statistical deviation from expected results.

In addition to these sophisticated security systems, casinos also employ a number of less expensive surveillance methods. For example, some casinos have catwalks in the ceiling that allow surveillance personnel to look down on players from a one-way mirror above the tables. The cameras can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons, and the feeds are recorded in a separate room filled with banks of security monitors. The casino can then review the tapes if any crimes are committed.