A casino is a place where people can gamble. It is usually large and lavishly decorated, with games like blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and slots. There are also musical shows and shopping centers. A casino is a major source of income for its owners.
Casinos can be found all over the world, but they are particularly concentrated in American cities. They are regulated by state laws. Several states amended their gambling laws in the 1980s and 1990s to permit casinos on American Indian reservations, and casinos began to appear in other countries as well.
Most of the money a casino makes comes from the bets that its patrons place on the various games. Every game has a built in advantage for the casino, known as the house edge, which is small but adds up over time to produce millions of dollars in gross profits.
A casino’s patrons are carefully screened to make sure that they have the right sort of money and are likely to be honest. Casinos routinely use video cameras to monitor all the activities inside and out. They also use electronic controls in the games themselves. For example, betting chips have built-in microcircuitry to communicate with electronic systems in the tables so that casinos can oversee bets minute-by-minute and quickly detect any statistical deviation from expected results. When a dealer takes a handout of chips, he or she has to turn his or her hands upward with the fingers fully extended, a procedure called clearing hands, to ensure that no one is palming any of the chips.