A casino is a gambling house that offers various games of chance and provides entertainment. Typically, it adds luxuries like restaurants, free drinks and stage shows to attract customers. The precise origin of gambling is not clear, but it has been a popular activity in many societies throughout history.
Although some casino patrons may be tempted to cheat or steal, in collusion with each other or by themselves, the large amounts of money handled by casinos make them well worth the expense of sophisticated security measures. Cameras and other surveillance equipment are a staple in most casino premises, and the tables and croupiers follow certain patterns that security people can recognize, so any deviation from expected behavior is immediately spotted.
Since every casino game has a built in mathematical advantage for the house, it is very rare for a casino to lose money for even one day. This virtual assurance of gross profit gives the casino enough funds to finance extravagant hotel and gambling complexes with fountains, giant pyramids, towers and replicas of landmarks around the world. In addition to these luxuries, casinos also earn money from their poker rooms, which charge a fee for each hand dealt, and their slot machines and video poker, which pay out winnings according to set payout percentages. Casinos are common worldwide, and in the United States are found in cities such as Atlantic City, New Jersey, Chicago and Detroit, as well as on Indian reservations that are not subject to state antigambling laws.