A casino, or gambling hall, is a place where people can wager on games of chance, and in some cases, skill. Although most people think of Las Vegas when they hear the word casino, the fact is that casinos come in all shapes and sizes, from enormous hotels and entertainment complexes to small businesses whose focus is on one type of gambling activity or another.
The large amounts of money handled by a casino make it vulnerable to theft and cheating by both patrons and staff. To counter this, most modern casinos employ a variety of security measures. These may include closed-circuit television cameras to monitor all areas of the facility, electronic systems that track betting chips minute by minute and alert the casino when there is a statistical deviation from expected results, and automated roulette wheels with built-in microcircuitry that ensure the fairness of the outcome.
Because of their virtual assurance of gross profit, most casinos rely on high-stakes gamblers to generate the bulk of their profits. To encourage big bettors, they offer lavish inducements like free spectacular entertainment and luxury living quarters. In addition, casinos use a wide range of advertising methods to attract new customers and to keep existing ones. Despite these efforts, some studies suggest that the net value of a casino to a community is negative, as the cost of treating compulsive gamblers and lost productivity due to their addiction offsets any profits generated by the gambling establishment.