What Is a Casino?

A casino is a place where various gambling activities are conducted. It has a social element to it which draws people there. It has entertainment elements like musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers, but it would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and keno provide the billions of dollars in profits that casinos bring in every year.

Casinos also have security concerns, because large amounts of money are handled within their walls, and because cheating and stealing are common, either in collusion or independently. For these reasons, casino patrons and staff are constantly watched by surveillance cameras. Elaborate systems offer a high-tech “eye in the sky” that allow security workers to watch all tables, change windows and doors from a central location. In addition, the computers inside each slot machine keep track of all transactions and can instantly detect any statistical deviations.

The typical casino patron is a forty-six-year-old female from a household with an above-average income. In 2005, the average family income of a casino gambler was $108,711. Because casinos bring in more local money than out-of-town tourists, they are often considered to be beneficial to the economy of the city in which they are located. However, critics point out that gambling addiction erodes economic productivity and that the cost of treating compulsive gamblers offsets any community benefits. In addition, the presence of a casino can negatively affect property values. For these reasons, many local governments ban them.