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What Is a Casino?

A Casino is an establishment offering games of chance and in some cases a bit of skill (like poker, roulette and craps). Casinos generate billions of dollars a year in profits from customers who place bets. Casino patrons have the option to gamble for cash, points or credits that can be exchanged for prizes. In addition to slot machines, black jack, and other table games, casinos often feature Asian games such as sic bo, fan-tan, and pai gow.

Most casinos are located in Nevada, where gambling has long been legal. However, casinos have spread to other states in the United States, especially after New Jersey and Atlantic City became legal gambling destinations in the 1970s. During the 1980s and 1990s, a number of American Indian reservations also began to operate casinos, which are exempt from state laws on gambling.

Despite their surface decadence, casinos are serious businesses. Various security measures are employed to prevent the theft of money or merchandise by casino patrons, as well as from employees. Dealers are heavily trained to spot a variety of cheating techniques such as palming, marking and dice-switching; and pit bosses monitor table play for betting patterns that indicate collusion.

The decor of a casino is also carefully chosen to create the right atmosphere. Lush carpets, dazzling chandeliers and carefully controlled lighting all work together to minimize patron awareness of the passing of time and enhance the feeling of wealth and power. Several casinos use massive displays of prizes, like sports cars on rotating pedestals, to further attract customers.