A casino (from the Italian word for “gambling house”) is an establishment that allows customers to gamble. The games offered in casinos vary, but most are card games, dice, roulette, video poker and slot machines. Some casinos also offer live entertainment and restaurants. Generally, casinos are regulated by government authorities. Casinos are often built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants and other tourist attractions. The term is also used for a group of gambling houses in Las Vegas.
Casinos make money by taking a percentage of the bets placed by patrons. This can be as little as two percent of each bet, but over time it can add up to millions of dollars. This income is a substantial enough profit to allow casinos to build extravagant buildings with fountains, statues and replicas of famous landmarks.
Because of the large amounts of money handled by both patrons and employees, casinos are prone to theft and cheating, either in collusion or independently. For this reason, casinos spend a great deal of time and effort on security. Cameras are a common sight, and electronic systems supervise the betting chips’ movements minute by minute, so that any anomaly can be quickly detected.
Casinos are also infamous for their addictive nature, and some studies show that they actually harm communities by shifting local spending away from other forms of entertainment and into the casinos themselves. Additionally, the costs of treating compulsive gambling and lost productivity from people who spend too much time at the casino can cancel out any economic benefits the facility might provide.