A casino is a gambling establishment where people can play games of chance for real money. Although modern casinos often combine other forms of entertainment like restaurants, hotels and shopping centers, they still make the bulk of their profits from gambling. Games of chance include poker, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, slot machines and more. Casinos also feature live entertainment and top-notch hotels.
Beneath the flashing lights and free cocktails, casinos are designed to slowly bleed patrons of their cash. This is why they spend so much time and money on security. Elaborate surveillance systems give a high-tech, eye-in-the-sky view of every table, window and doorway. The cameras can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons. Security personnel in a separate room filled with banks of security monitors can also review the footage after a crime or incident has occurred.
As gambling expanded throughout the United States, more towns and cities began opening their own casinos. Some, like Las Vegas, became world-famous for their glamorous atmosphere and top-notch resorts. Other, more modest casinos popped up in smaller cities and towns. The Hippodrome in London, for example, is one of the oldest and most famous casinos in the world. It was built over a century ago and is even partially owned by the British royal family.
Gambling is a controversial activity. Some people feel that it is a form of recreation that can be enjoyed by all, while others feel that it is an addictive activity that should be avoided at all costs. Still, the fact remains that casinos are an industry with billions of dollars in annual profits.