A casino is a gambling establishment, especially one that features games of chance and/or skill. It is also sometimes known as a gaming hall, a gambling house, or a kasino.

About 51 million people-about a quarter of all Americans over the age of 21-visited casinos in 2002, according to the American Gaming Association. In addition to a wide variety of games and services, most casinos offer food, beverages, and entertainment. Many have fountains, lavish rooms and suites, and other special features designed to draw attention and encourage players.

In addition to the typical amenities, modern casinos feature technological advancements that improve security and accuracy. For example, betting chips have built-in microcircuitry to enable the casinos to monitor the exact amounts wagered minute by minute and warn them of any anomaly; a roulette wheel is electronically monitored regularly so that statistical deviations from expected results are quickly discovered. Many casinos employ security personnel to monitor patrons; some have catwalks that allow surveillance personnel to look down on the tables and slots through one-way mirrors.

In order to maximize profits, casinos rely on high-stakes gamblers. These individuals, called “high rollers,” make a large amount of money and therefore generate most of the casino’s income. In return for their substantial investments, the casino often offers them free spectacular entertainment, free luxury travel and hotel accommodations, discounted meals, and comps (gifts) such as drinks and cigarettes while gambling. In recent years, the Bellagio and other high-end casinos have begun to pair exotic destinations like Venice, Monaco, and Singapore with their luxurious gaming offerings.

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