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What Is a Casino?

What Is a Casino?


A casino is a special establishment where people can play games of chance and win money. Some casinos also offer food and drink, and some are combined with hotels or resorts. Casinos are found around the world and attract visitors from many countries. Some casinos specialize in particular kinds of games, such as poker or baccarat. Others feature a wide variety of games, including slot machines and table games such as blackjack and roulette.

While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate themes help draw in customers, casinos would not exist without the games of chance that provide the billions of dollars in profits they rake in each year. Slot machines, poker, baccarat, craps, keno and bingo are the most popular gambling options, but some casinos also offer traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo (which spread to several European and American casinos in the 1990s) and fan-tan.

Because casinos deal with large sums of money, patrons may be tempted to cheat or steal. Consequently, they spend a great deal of time and effort on security. Many casinos have cameras and other surveillance equipment, and some even employ professional security guards. Some casinos have catwalks that allow staff to look down, through one-way glass, on the tables and slots.

Some critics charge that casinos detract from local tourism, and that the costs of treating problem gamblers offset any economic gains they generate. Other critics point to studies showing that the overall net effect of casinos on a community is negative, because they divert spending away from other forms of entertainment and reduce property values.