A casino, also known as a gaming house or a gambling hall, is a building or room where people can gamble. Modern casinos have a wide range of amenities beyond games of chance. Musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels help draw in the crowds. But it is the games that generate most of the billions in profits that casinos rake in each year.
Casinos are found all over the world. In the United States, casinos can be found in Nevada and Atlantic City, as well as on Native American reservations and other states that allow them. Nevada is the leader in the number of casinos, followed by New Jersey and Atlantic City.
Most casinos use video cameras and computers to monitor patrons and games. Computer programs track bets minute by minute to ensure the accuracy of winnings and losses; roulette wheels are inspected for any anomalies; and a special chip with a built-in microcircuit allows players to be tracked as they play.
Despite the high-tech surveillance, casinos are still vulnerable to cheating and theft by both patrons and employees. With so much money handled on a daily basis, both players and dealers are prone to taking shortcuts, such as palpably marking or switching cards or dice. In addition, some players are prone to gambling addiction. Studies show that compulsive gambling can drain a community of its talent and resources. As a result, some economists have argued that casinos actually drain the economy of the cities they operate in.