A Casino is an establishment where games of chance are played and gambling is the primary activity. It may also have restaurants, bars, and other entertainment. Some casinos are located near hotels and/or cruise ships. In the United States, there are a number of state-regulated casinos. In addition, there are some Native American gaming facilities. Some states also have private casinos.
Gambling has been a part of human culture throughout history in almost every society. Some forms are more popular than others, however. Casinos are often associated with organized crime and have a reputation for corruption, but mob control has been decreasing as more legitimate businessmen get into the industry. Real estate investors and hotel chains, for example, are more interested in the profits than the seamy image of casinos. They have deep pockets and the threat of losing their casino license at the slightest hint of mob ties, which keep the gangsters away from their gambling cash cows.
Casino security starts with dealers, who are heavily trained to spot blatant cheating like palming or marking cards or dice. Pit bosses and table managers have a wider view of the tables and can observe betting patterns that might indicate cheating. Electronic monitoring of slot machines and video poker monitors can catch statistical deviations from expected behavior quickly. In addition to these security measures, casinos offer perks to their customers called comps. These include free drinks, shows, and meals. The perks are designed to encourage people to gamble more and to reward those who do. Comps are an important source of revenue for casinos, although studies suggest that they hurt the local economy by diverting spending from other entertainment activities and increasing the cost of medical care and lost productivity for gambling addicts.