What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment that offers table games and slot machines. It is an industry that generates billions in profits for the companies, individuals, Native American tribes and investors who operate it. It also brings in revenue for state and local governments. In addition to providing a place for gambling, casinos also offer dining, entertainment and other amenities. They may be large resorts such as the Bellagio in Las Vegas or smaller card rooms in bars and restaurants. Casino-type game machines are also often found on boats and barges, at racetracks and in trucks stops and grocery stores.

Something about gambling seems to encourage people to cheat, steal or scam their way into a jackpot. This is why casinos spend a lot of time, effort and money on security. Cameras monitor casino patrons for suspicious activity. Dealers keep an eye on their own tables, making sure no one is palming or marking cards. Pit bosses and table managers watch over the gaming floor, noticing betting patterns that might signal cheating. There are even catwalks that allow surveillance personnel to look down on the casino action from a safe distance.

In addition to protecting their own assets, casino operators must also worry about the social impact of their business. Critics point out that casino revenues drain money from other types of local entertainment and can cause a drop in property values in the surrounding area. Studies also show that compulsive gambling harms the economy and society in many ways, including by reducing work productivity.