What Is a Casino?

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Casino is a gambling establishment offering games of chance and some with an element of skill. Patrons wager money and/or other valuables against the house in games such as baccarat, blackjack, roulette and video poker. Some casinos also offer poker tables where patrons play against each other; the casino makes a profit by taking a fixed percentage of the pot, called the rake.

Casinos are heavily guarded against theft and other criminal activities. Security personnel monitor the activities of patrons, and are trained to recognize patterns of behavior that indicate a player is attempting to cheat or steal. The rules of each game and the routines of players follow certain standards, making it easier for security personnel to detect deviations from the norm.

In addition to security, casinos spend a great deal of time and money on customer service. They offer perks designed to encourage and reward gamblers, such as free hotel rooms, discounted travel packages, meals and show tickets. They are particularly keen on attracting high rollers, who are offered limo service and airline tickets in return for large amounts of money spent at the casino.

Because of the enormous amount of money involved, some gamblers have trouble controlling their gambling. Studies suggest that compulsive gambling generates a net negative economic impact on the community because it diverts spending from other forms of entertainment and causes people to lose jobs that could have been productive. While gambling is a source of revenue for casinos, critics point out that it has never been a significant contributor to the economy in any country, and that the profits generated by gambling are dwarfed by the costs associated with problem gamblers.

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