A casino is an establishment where people can gamble and play games of chance. Casinos are most often built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. They may also include live entertainment such as stand-up comedy or concerts. Some casinos specialize in specific types of gambling, such as slot machines or poker. Others offer a variety of games and are known as megacasinos.
Because large amounts of money are handled within a casino, there is the potential for cheating or theft by both patrons and staff. Therefore, casinos spend a great deal of time and effort on security. Casinos are guarded by cameras located throughout the facility, and employees are trained to watch patrons’ behavior carefully. The more sophisticated casinos employ high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” surveillance systems that allow security personnel to monitor the entire casino at once and even zoom in on suspicious patrons.
In the United States, Nevada has the highest concentration of casinos, followed by Atlantic City and Chicago. But there are casinos in many cities and towns, as well as Native American gaming facilities. Some economic studies have found that the net effect of a casino on a community is negative, because it draws money away from other forms of local entertainment and can lead to compulsive gambling. In addition, the costs of treating problem gamblers and lost productivity from gambling addicts more than offset any income from casino operations.