A casino is a place where gambling activities are conducted. It is sometimes combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping and cruise ships.
There have been less lavish places that house gambling activities and could still be called casinos, but modern casinos are usually much more than just a building with tables and slot machines. The typical casino adds a host of luxuries to help attract and keep players, such as expensive restaurants, free drinks, stage shows and dramatic scenery.
Casinos are staffed by people trained to look for cheating and other irregularities. They also employ sophisticated electronic monitoring and surveillance equipment. Casinos are especially careful to monitor the actions of high rollers, who often gamble in special rooms away from the main floor. They can spend tens of thousands of dollars in one visit and are the source of many of the profits that casinos make.
It is important to understand the underlying patterns in casino games in order to spot cheating and other irregularities. The shuffles and dealing of cards, the locations of betting spots on table games, the reactions and motions of other players—all of these follow certain patterns. If something is out of the ordinary, security people will be able to spot it because the pattern will be familiar to them.
Some of these patterns are based on cultural and social factors. In 2005, for example, the average casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with above-average income. This is probably not a coincidence, given that the first casinos were designed as public clubs and were founded in Europe by people either from or closely associated with wealthy families.