A Casino is a gambling establishment featuring blackjack and other table games, slot machines, and live entertainment. Musical shows, lighted fountains, and lavish hotels all help draw patrons, but casinos would not exist without the games of chance that generate the billions in profits they rake in every year.
Casinos often provide free drinks and food to their higher-spending patrons, known as “comps,” to keep them playing. These comps may also be redeemable for merchandise or free admission to shows and other casino attractions. Casinos also rely on sophisticated security systems to deter cheating and theft by patrons and employees. Some examples include cameras that monitor the floor for suspicious betting patterns and a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” that lets security personnel watch each room, table, window, and doorway from an elevated control center.
The largest concentration of casinos is in Las Vegas, with Atlantic City and Chicago ranking second and third, respectively. Many states legalized casino gambling in the 1980s to encourage tourism, and interstate competition has led to a steady increase in the number of casinos throughout the United States. But some critics say that casino gambling harms local economies, and the cost of treating problem gamblers and lost productivity from their addiction offsets any economic gains. Casinos also tend to draw local people rather than out-of-town tourists, and that can reduce local spending at other forms of entertainment. In addition, some economists claim that casinos divert money from other businesses and cause a drop in property values in surrounding neighborhoods.