A casino, also referred to as a gambling hall or card room, is a facility where various games of chance are played. Casinos can be found in many countries around the world and offer a wide range of services to their patrons. In addition to the typical gambling floor, casinos often have restaurants, free drinks, stage shows and other amenities.
A modern casino typically has a high level of security. This begins on the casino floor, where employees keep an eye on patrons and games to make sure everything is running as it should. Casino dealers are heavily trained to look for blatant cheating such as palming or marking cards, and pit bosses and table managers have a more granular view of the game action, looking for patterns in betting that could indicate stealing. Many casinos have catwalks that allow security personnel to watch directly down on the gaming tables through one way glass.
Casinos earn billions of dollars each year from the millions of bets placed by their patrons. This income allows them to build elaborate hotels, fountains, towers and replicas of famous landmarks. They can also afford to give out comps (free goods or services) like meals, rooms, shows and transportation to the best bettors. Casinos also rake in huge profits from their gambling machines, which are often called slots or video poker and take a percentage of the money that is wagered by players.
Some casinos are located in large resorts, while others are smaller and may be situated in a standalone building or on a barge or boat floating on a lake or river. Some American Indian tribes operate casinos on their reservations, which are exempt from state antigambling laws. In the United States, many states have legalized casinos on their shores or in racinos (racetracks converted to casinos), while some have banned them altogether.
While the term casino may conjure images of a glamorous Las Vegas or Atlantic City gambling establishment, there are actually casinos in many cities and towns across the country and even the globe. Some are small, family owned establishments, while others are enormous, opulent facilities designed to rival the grandeur of European palaces. The elegant spa town of Baden-Baden, Germany, has a casino that was once visited by royalty and European aristocracy, while the Newport, Rhode Island, casino is considered by some to be the most beautiful in the world. Even less opulent locations such as Copenhagen, Finland and the Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island have casinos that function as social venues rather than gambling establishments.