A casino is an entertainment complex that is a major source of revenue for the owners. Though lighted fountains, musical shows and shopping centers may draw in the crowds, the vast majority of the profits are generated by gambling: slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, poker and other games of chance provide the billions that casinos rake in every year.
While most people enjoy the excitement of gambling, few are willing to risk much money. As a result, casinos make their money by limiting the amount of money a gambler can win and by providing inducements to spend more than one might ordinarily. These perks, known as comps, can include free or discounted show tickets and hotel rooms, food and drinks while gambling, even free merchandise. Casinos offer these incentives to attract and keep customers.
Casinos are found around the world, though they have a more pronounced presence in America and Europe. American casinos began appearing in the 1980s when some states amended their antigambling laws to allow riverboats and land-based casinos. Many of the more famous European casinos are located in cities such as Monte Carlo and Cannes.
Casinos employ a variety of security measures to prevent cheating and fraud. Dealers are heavily trained to watch for blatant techniques such as palming and marking cards or dice, while pit bosses monitor table games with a wider view to spot any betting patterns that might indicate cheating. Casinos also use video cameras to supervise players and games. Some have catwalks that enable security personnel to look directly down, through one-way glass, on the activities taking place below them.