A casino is a gambling establishment that accepts wagers on games of chance. It may be integrated with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and cruise ships or located in standalone buildings. In the United States, casinos are most prominent in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, though some states allow Native American gaming and some have legalized racinos, or racetrack-type games with casino-style game machines. Casinos generate billions of dollars a year for the companies, investors, and casino operators that own them, as well as local governments that collect taxes and fees from patrons.
Casinos rely on a number of security measures to prevent cheating or theft by either patrons or employees. The most obvious measure is security cameras located throughout the casino. In addition, dealers focus on their own games and can easily spot blatant methods of cheating, such as palming or marking cards. Likewise, table managers and pit bosses have a broader view of the tables and can quickly pick up on suspicious betting patterns.
Besides security, casinos persuade people to gamble by offering a variety of incentives. Big bettors are often offered free spectacular entertainment, transportation, and elegant living quarters. Lesser bettors are tempted with complimentary drinks and cigarettes while gambling and reduced-fare travel packages.
Gambling is a social activity, so casinos try to create an atmosphere that is loud and stimulating. Many use bright and sometimes gaudy floor and wall coverings that are thought to stimulate the eye and cheer people up. The absence of clocks on the walls is also intended to help people lose track of time and keep them gambling for longer periods.