A casino is a building or room where people can gamble. Most casinos feature slot machines and other electronic gaming devices, but some also offer table games such as blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, and poker. In some countries, casinos are licensed and regulated by government agencies to ensure fair play. Some are built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships, and other tourist attractions.
A casino’s customers are typically affluent, middle-aged adults who have above-average incomes and significant leisure time. They tend to gamble more often than the general population, and their expenditures exceed national averages. However, studies indicate that compulsive gambling has a negative effect on the economy, with the cost of treating problem gamblers and the lost productivity of those who do not control their spending reversing any revenue generated by the casino.
During the 1990s, casinos dramatically increased their use of technology. For example, in “chip tracking,” betting chips with built-in microcircuitry interact with systems in the tables to enable casinos to oversee the exact amounts wagered minute by minute and warn them quickly of any anomaly; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover if they are deviating from their expected results.
Many casino employees work on a commission basis and are paid a percentage of the money that gamblers lose. The symbiotic relationship between gambler and casino employee is further emphasized by the fact that most casinos are designed around noise, light, and excitement.