A casino is a gambling establishment that offers games of chance and skill. Most casinos feature a variety of table games and slot machines. Some also offer non-gambling activities such as restaurants, bars, and swimming pools. In the United States, casinos are often located on Native American reservations or in racinos (racetrack-casinos). Successful casinos generate billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors, and native American tribes that operate them. They also provide substantial tax revenues for state and local governments.
The modern casino industry has grown rapidly since its inception in the 1970s. Its growth has been fueled by the spread of legalized gambling, which first took hold in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and later in other American cities and on Indian reservations. In addition, during the 1980s many American states amended their anti-gambling laws to allow for casinos on riverboats and in other locales.
In the twenty-first century, casino gaming has become a global industry that is licensed and regulated in many countries. Casinos typically offer a wide range of games that include slot machines, blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, and baccarat. In addition to these games, they often feature other forms of entertainment such as live music and stage shows.
Security is an important aspect of casino operations. Casinos usually have a dedicated physical security force that patrols the facility and responds to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious or criminal activity. In addition, a specialized surveillance department monitors the casino’s electronic system of closed-circuit television, or “eye in the sky.”
The casino’s security begins on the floor, where employees watch players and make sure that all betting rules are followed. Dealers are heavily focused on their own game and can easily spot blatant cheating such as palming or marking cards or dice. Table managers and pit bosses have a broader view of the gaming area and can watch for betting patterns that may indicate cheating.
In general, casino patrons tend to be older, middle-aged adults with above-average incomes. They are more likely to be women than men, and they have a lower level of education than the national average. In 2005, the average age of a casino gambler was forty-six years old. This group includes parents with above-average incomes who use their vacation time and disposable income to enjoy casino gambling. In addition, this group is more likely to have children and a higher level of household debt than the general population. Consequently, this group has been the focus of increased casino marketing efforts to families. They are targeted with special promotions and free family-friendly entertainment. In addition, they are given special VIP treatment and privileged access to casino events.