A casino is a gambling establishment that allows patrons to gamble by playing games of chance. While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers might draw people to a casino, it is the games that provide the billions of dollars in profits casinos bring in each year. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and other table games are the heart of a casino’s business.
Modern casinos have a strong focus on security. A physical security force patrols the facility and responds to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity, while a specialized surveillance department operates the casino’s closed circuit television system (CCTV), often known as an “eye-in-the-sky.” Cameras are placed throughout the casino and can be focused on specific tables or on particular suspicious patrons. Casinos also have sophisticated electronic systems that monitor the games themselves. For example, betting chips have built-in microcircuitry that allows the casino to monitor the exact amounts wagered minute by minute; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any statistical deviations from their expected results.
While a casino may offer several types of games, most are best known for their slot machines. Besides the traditional spinning reels, video poker and mechanical bulls, many casinos now feature more exotic games such as sic bo, fan-tan, and pai-gow. Most of these games are derived from Far Eastern gambling traditions. Despite their popularity, slot machines can be addictive and should be avoided by anyone with gambling problems.