A casino is a gambling establishment. Your grandmother might enjoy taking weekend bus trips to the nearest casino with her friends to gamble on poker, blackjack or craps. Modern casinos are more like indoor amusement parks for adults, with music shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers. But the vast majority of their profits are from gambling. Casino games such as slot machines, roulette, baccarat and keno generate billions of dollars in profit each year.
Casinos have very specific goals when it comes to attracting patrons and keeping them there. They want to create a sense of excitement and mystery. Their decor tries to give off an air of expensive taste and luxury. And they want to minimize the awareness that their patrons are actually gambling.
While most casino profits come from the large bettors (high rollers) in their high-limit areas, even smaller bettors can provide substantial revenue. They are offered free spectacular entertainment, free or reduced-fare transportation, elegant living quarters and many other inducements.
In the twenty-first century casinos have greatly expanded their use of technology to monitor gambling operations. Slot machines are wired with sensors that allow casinos to track exact amounts of money wagered minute-by-minute; table managers and pit bosses are routinely videotaped to catch any crooked dealing or cheating; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored for statistical deviations, which appear on computer screens as an anomaly. The casino industry is also a frequent target of criticism for its effect on communities, where the loss of tax revenue and increased cost of treating compulsive gamblers more than offset any economic benefits they may bring.