What Is a Casino?


A casino is a building where people can gamble and play games of chance. In the United States, casinos are licensed and regulated by state governments. Most states require a casino to offer some form of gaming, such as poker, blackjack, roulette and craps.

In modern times, casinos use a variety of technologies to ensure fairness and security. Video cameras and surveillance systems monitor gambling activity. Some casinos have catwalks that allow surveillance personnel to look down directly on the table and slot machines through one-way glass. Casinos also hire mathematicians and computer programmers who specialize in analyzing game rules, house edges, variance (the amount of variation from an expected return) and other statistical deviations. These individuals are sometimes called gaming mathematicians or statisticians.

Gambling is a popular pastime, and some countries have legalized casinos to attract tourists and boost the economy. However, some economists have criticized the economic impact of casinos, saying that they shift spending from other local entertainment and hurt property values in the surrounding area. They also say that compulsive gambling causes social and family problems and reduces productivity at work.

Casinos usually have a physical security force and a specialized security department that patrols the premises, responds to reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity and uses closed circuit television (CCTV) to monitor activities. These departments work closely together to prevent crime and ensure the safety of the guests. Casinos also enforce security through rules of conduct and behavior. For example, all players at a card game must keep their cards visible at all times. This ensures that the cards are not being hidden from the dealer.

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