A casino is an establishment for gambling that is owned and operated by a private company. Its rooms are filled with slot machines, blackjack tables and other table games. In addition, many casinos feature live entertainment. They are found in large resorts and hotels, as well as in separate buildings or on barges that float down waterways.
A successful casino brings in billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors and Native American tribes that own it. It also generates a lot of tax revenue for states and cities. However, it is also a major source of controversy. Some people argue that casinos discourage other forms of entertainment, depress local real estate prices and contribute to compulsive gambling problems.
In the 1990s, casinos began using technology to monitor their games and players. For example, in a system called “chip tracking,” betting chips have built-in microcircuitry that interacts with electronic systems to enable the casino to see exactly how much each player is wagering minute by minute; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any statistical deviation from their expected results. Casinos have also increased their use of video cameras for security purposes.
To draw in high-stakes gamblers, casinos often offer free perks such as hotel rooms and buffet meals. They may even provide limo service and airline tickets for big spenders. These perks are especially common in European casinos, where gaming laws are stricter than in the United States.