Casino is a place where people gamble by playing games of chance, in some cases with an element of skill. It is also a public establishment that provides luxuries for its patrons, such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. Although it has taken on the guise of an entertainment complex with elaborate hotels, shopping centers and fountains, a casino is fundamentally a gambling house.
Casinos are built around a series of gambling games, and their success depends on the vig (vigorish) or rake (commission) that is taken by the house for each bet placed. It is not uncommon for casinos to earn billions of dollars per year in gross profit from their gambling operations. While a large portion of that revenue is generated by high bettors, the house always wins in the long run.
As with all businesses, there is a dark side to the casino business. In addition to the money lost by compulsive gamblers, studies have shown that casinos actually drain communities of valuable tax revenue, cause residents to move away and lower property values.
To counter the temptation to cheat, casinos employ a variety of security measures. Many of these involve technology. For instance, betting chips with microcircuitry allow casinos to monitor the exact amount of money wagered minute-by-minute and warn dealers quickly if a bet is unusual; roulette wheels are electronically monitored on a regular basis to discover any statistical deviation from expected results. In addition to these specialized machines, casino floors are patrolled by security workers who watch each table and can adjust camera lenses to focus on suspicious patrons.