A Casino is a place where patrons pay to play games of chance and, in some cases, skill. Slot machines, craps, baccarat and other games generate the billions of dollars in profits that casinos earn every year. Casinos also add stage shows, free drinks and dramatic scenery to their gambling offerings, but the bulk of their revenue comes from gambling.
Modern casinos have a physical security force and a specialized department for surveillance that works closely together to prevent crime. In addition to patrolling the gaming floor and responding to calls for assistance, casino security personnel watch the closed circuit television system that monitors the action around the clock. Security personnel have an advantage over the average gambler, since they know the patterns of behavior that are expected at each game. The way the cards are shuffled, the locations of the betting spots and the manner in which players react to each other all follow familiar routines.
While many people think that the casinos are a source of entertainment, they contribute significantly to the problem of gambling addiction in society. Studies show that compulsive gamblers drain communities of tax revenues and divert spending from other forms of local entertainment. In addition, the cost of treating compulsive gamblers offsets any economic benefits that a casino might bring to a community.
Although there have been less lavish places that housed gambling activities in the past, a modern casino is almost always an enclosed structure that provides security and an atmosphere conducive to gambling. While musical shows, shopping centers and fountains help draw in the crowds, casinos would not exist without the games of chance that provide the money they rake in each year.