A casino is a gambling establishment where people wager money on various games of chance. The games played at casinos include poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, and slot machines. Successful casinos make billions of dollars each year for the corporations, investors, and Native American tribes that own them. They also generate millions in taxes and fees for state and local governments. Casinos are located in large resorts, standalone buildings, and sometimes even cruise ships. They are also found at racetracks, in bars and restaurants, and in many other places where gambling is legal.
Casinos are built with elaborate decorations and themes to lure gamblers. They often feature huge statues and fountains. Some are designed to resemble ancient Roman temples or pyramids. Other have themes like the Wild West or Las Vegas. The Hippodrome in London, for example, was originally opened as a theater in 1900 and later converted into a casino.
Security is a major concern for casino owners. Cameras are used to monitor the activity of patrons and the games. Electronic systems help oversee the exact amounts of money wagered minute by minute and alert supervisors to any unusual activity. In some casinos, the chips that players use to place bets have built-in microcircuitry that allows them to be tracked automatically. Roulette wheels are electronically monitored to detect any deviations from the expected results.
Another important aspect of casino security is to discourage cheating and stealing by patrons. Security personnel patrol the floor and watch over the games, making sure there are no blatant cheating or stealing by players. Some casinos have catwalks that enable surveillance personnel to look down on the tables and slots through one-way glass. Casinos also take a number of other precautions to prevent crime. For example, they typically do not display clocks on the walls, as this would be a fire hazard. They also use bright colors, such as red, to stimulate and cheer up gamblers.
Most casinos offer free drinks and food to keep gamblers in their gambling rooms longer. These perks are known as comps. The amount of time and money a player spends at a casino is used to determine the amount of comps the player receives. These perks can include free hotel rooms, meals, show tickets, and limo service.
Some casinos specialize in specific types of games. For example, Asian casinos offer traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo (which became popular in European and American casinos in the 1990s), fan-tan, and pai gow. They may also offer other games, such as two-up or baccarat, that are popular in their home countries. Some casinos also have special areas where they showcase exotic games from around the world.