A casino is a place where gambling activities take place. The term may also be used for establishments that offer other forms of entertainment such as shows, restaurants or bars. Casinos can also be located at hotels, resorts and cruise ships.
In the United States, casinos became a major tourist attraction in Nevada and Atlantic City after legalized gambling in those areas. They soon spread to other parts of the country and the world as well, with many appearing on American Indian reservations and elsewhere outside state gambling laws.
Because of the large amounts of money involved in casino gambling, it is important for security to be a top priority. Many casinos employ a significant number of people to monitor both patrons and the games. Dealers are trained to spot blatant cheating by players, such as palming or marking cards. Table managers and pit bosses have a broader view of the action and can quickly detect betting patterns that could indicate cheating.
Some casinos have elaborate features to lure in customers. These can include free food and drinks, spectacular entertainment or dramatic scenery. Casinos usually use chips instead of real money, which helps prevent cheating by making the gambling activity more abstract. The use of chips also makes it easier to keep track of the total amount wagered and to detect any unusual activity.
To maximize profits, casinos often reward the biggest spenders with “comps” (free goods or services) such as meals, hotel rooms and tickets to shows. Casinos also use electronic surveillance to monitor players and their actions.