A casino, also known as a gambling house or a gaming hall, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. These casinos can be very large, sprawling resorts or small card rooms in bars or restaurants. There are also casinos in cruise ships and some states have racinos, which combine racetracks with gaming. Successful casinos bring in billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors, and Native American tribes that operate them.

Because of the large amounts of money involved, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal. As a result, casinos spend considerable time and effort on security. The most basic measure is security cameras located throughout the casino. More elaborate systems include “chip tracking,” which allows surveillance personnel to see the exact amount of money wagered on a table minute by minute; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored for any statistical deviation from their expected results.

Casinos are built on land or on water and often have fountains, giant pyramids, towers, or replicas of famous landmarks. They are usually brightly decorated in red, the color that is most associated with excitement and wealth. Many have no clocks on the walls, as it is believed that people lose track of time when they are having fun. Some casinos have live entertainment and serve free drinks and snacks to players. Gambling addiction is a serious problem and some critics argue that the revenue generated by casinos diverts spending from other forms of local entertainment and that the cost of treating compulsive gamblers offsets any economic benefits they generate.

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