A casino, or gaming hall, is a place where people may gamble on games of chance. Most casinos offer a variety of table and slot machines and feature live entertainment such as stage shows. In addition, some offer food and drinks. Some also offer sports betting and other attractions. Many state governments regulate and license casinos.
Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. To counter this, most modern casinos have a number of security measures.
The most common are video cameras that monitor the gambling area and the actions of patrons. These are located throughout the casino and can be focused on specific suspicious patrons by security workers in a room filled with banks of security monitors (known as the eye-in-the-sky). Catwalks in the ceiling allow surveillance personnel to look down directly, through one way glass, on the activities at tables and slot machines.
Despite their apparent randomness, all casino games have mathematically determined advantages for the house. These are reflected in the odds or house edge of each game. For example, the advantage of a slot machine is about 4 percent but that of a roulette wheel is less than 1 percent.
In the past, mobster involvement in casinos was common, but federal crackdowns on Mafia crime and the increased competition of hotel chains and real estate investors with deep pockets has forced gangsters out of the business. The modern casinos have a lot more money to spend on security and lavish inducements for big bettors, including free spectacular entertainment, transportation and luxury living quarters. In the United States, the Las Vegas Valley has the largest concentration of casinos. Other important gaming centers include Atlantic City, New Jersey and Chicago. In addition, many American Indian reservations have casinos.