A casino is a place where people gamble through games of chance. While the typical casino adds other entertainment options such as musical shows, lighted fountains and elaborate theme decor to draw in patrons, it would not exist without the games of chance that provide the billions of dollars in profits raked in by casinos every year. Slot machines, blackjack, poker and other table games make up the bulk of this revenue.
While casinos rely on the usual security measures of windows, doorways and cameras to protect the property, they have also dramatically increased their use of technology since the 1990s. For example, “chip tracking” systems allow a casino to oversee betting patterns minute by minute and warn of any deviation from normal odds; roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any statistical anomalies in their expected results. And a high-tech eye-in-the-sky allows security workers to watch every window, doorway and table in a casino by directing a camera to focus on a particular suspicious patron.
Despite these safeguards, the casino business remains controversial. Many people view casinos as a place where the house always wins, and this is largely true. In fact, the majority of gambling games have mathematically determined odds that guarantee that the casino will eventually win, unless the player is very skilled. And a significant number of players are addicted to gambling, which is costly for the casino and society as a whole. Moreover, studies indicate that the net economic value of a casino to a community is actually negative due to lost productivity from gambling addiction and the cost of treating problem gamblers.