What is a Casino?

From the glitzy lights of the Bellagio to the illegal pai gow parlors of New York City’s Chinatown, there are casinos that attract nearly 100 million people a year. These casinos are much like an indoor amusement park for adults, with the majority of the entertainment (and profits for casino owners) coming from games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette and craps provide the billions in gaming profits that draw in crowds of people from around the world. But there is more to a casino than just gambling, with many offering hotels, restaurants, non-gambling game rooms and other attractions.

Casinos often use sophisticated technology to ensure that their games are fair. Chips with built-in microcircuitry allow casinos to monitor bets minute by minute, and electronic systems on roulette wheels can detect statistical deviations instantly. Casinos also enforce security through rules of conduct and behavior; for example, players are required to keep their hands visible at all times.

Although casinos provide a wealth of entertainment, they are not without their problems. Some studies have found that casinos can harm a community by shifting spending away from other forms of local entertainment; by contributing to mental illnesses such as compulsive gambling and by depressing property values in the surrounding area. In addition, they may contribute to societal problems such as crime and drug abuse. These issues have led some states to pass laws limiting or banning casino development. Others have chosen to regulate the industry, requiring licenses for new casinos and setting standards on game play and equipment.