A casino is a gambling establishment where certain types of gambling are conducted. Modern casinos are like indoor amusement parks, complete with slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and countless other games. They also feature hotel rooms, restaurants and non-gambling games and activities, such as swimming pools and spas. Casinos draw millions of visitors every year, raking in billions in profits.
While some casinos specialize in specific games, most try to have a broad appeal. They attract people from all walks of life, from the middle class to the ultra-rich. In 2005, Harrah’s Entertainment reported that the average casino patron was a forty-six-year-old female from a household with above-average income.
Casinos are found all over the world. The United States had a long history of prohibition, but during the 1980s many state governments amended their antigambling laws to permit casinos. Some opened in cities, while others started on American Indian reservations.
Today’s casinos use a variety of technology to keep track of their customers and prevent cheating. Chip tracking allows them to monitor the amount of money wagered minute by minute and detect any anomalies; automated roulette wheels can be monitored electronically to discover deviations from expected results quickly; and video cameras provide a high-tech eye-in-the-sky view of the entire floor.
In addition to these sophisticated monitoring systems, casino employees are trained to spot signs of cheating. They are especially sensitive to card and dice manipulation, such as palming, marking, or switching cards and dice. Casinos employ many different strategies to prevent these types of cheating, but it is impossible to completely eliminate them.