What Is a Casino?

A casino is a building where gambling takes place. Casinos often include entertainment venues, such as theaters or arenas. They may also feature a variety of table games and/or slot machines. They may be combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and/or cruise ships. Casinos are most commonly found in the United States, but they are also popular in Europe and other parts of the world.

Some casinos focus on a particular type of gambling, such as blackjack or poker, while others specialize in providing an array of different types of games. Most casinos are regulated by law to ensure fair play and prevent cheating or underage gambling.

Modern casino security begins on the casino floor, where casino employees keep an eye on patrons and watch for blatantly obvious cheating, such as palming or marking cards or changing dice. Other casino security measures include a high-tech surveillance system in which betting chips with built-in microcircuitry interact with electronic systems at roulette wheels and other tables to enable the casino to monitor exactly how much money is being wagered minute-by-minute and warn dealers about any statistical deviations from expected results.

While some studies indicate that casinos boost local economies, critics point out that they draw patrons from out of town and reduce spending on other forms of local entertainment and that the cost of treating problem gamblers and the lost productivity associated with compulsive gambling more than offset any economic benefits. In addition, many casinos are located in or near communities with large populations of addicted gamblers, whose activity often leads to domestic violence, gangland crime, and other social problems.