Casino is a large gambling establishment where patrons wager money on games of chance or skill. Most casinos feature table games such as blackjack, roulette and craps, as well as slot machines, poker, video poker and bingo. The house always has a mathematical advantage over the players. Casinos typically have a security force and a separate specialized surveillance department to patrol the facility. Modern technology is also used to monitor game play: betting chips with built-in microcircuitry allow casinos to oversee the exact amounts wagered minute-by-minute, and electronic monitoring of roulette wheels allows them to discover any statistical deviations quickly.
Slot machines generate the largest proportion of casino profits, mainly because they require no skill to play and have a simple formula: put in some money, pull a lever or push a button, and watch as varying bands of colored shapes roll on reels (actual physical ones or a video representation). Each combination has a predetermined payout value, determined by a computer chip inside each machine.
The popularity of casino games has fueled many casino developments throughout the United States. Today, the majority of casinos are located in Las Vegas, although there are a few scattered around the country, including some that have been open for more than a century.
In addition to the main gaming floor, most casinos have restaurants and bars. Some even have hotel rooms and limo services for high rollers. But casinos are not without their critics. Some argue that they shift spending away from other types of local entertainment; cause gambling addiction in a significant number of people, which requires treatment; and hurt property values. Others point to research showing that casino revenue actually has a net negative effect on a community, mainly because of the lost productivity and healthcare costs associated with compulsive gambling.