A casino is an establishment where gambling activities take place. In addition to games of chance, many casinos feature musical shows and gourmet restaurants. The largest casinos are found in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and the Chicago region.
Casinos are a major source of entertainment and make billions in profits each year. While lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate hotels draw the crowds, they would not exist without the wildly popular games of chance such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and poker that generate the revenue. These games have built-in statistical advantages for the house that can be as low as two percent; this is known as the “house edge.”
Unlike gambling in the United States in the pre-industrial era, which relied on illegal gambling dens run by mobster families, today’s casinos are more likely to be owned by real estate investors and hotel chains. They rely on the public’s love for games of chance to generate large amounts of money and often spend millions on security measures to prevent cheating, either in collusion with patrons or by staff.
Security begins on the casino floor, where workers watch over games and patrons to catch any blatant cheating such as palming or marking cards or dice. Pit bosses and table managers have a broader view of the tables, keeping track of betting patterns that can signal cheating. Electronics are also routinely used to supervise the games themselves, with chips that contain microcircuitry that allow them to be tracked minute-by-minute and warning systems that detect any anomalies.