A casino (also called a gambling hall or card room) is a place where people play various games of chance for money. The games played in a casino can be a combination of luck and skill, although the majority of them are pure chance. Most casinos use a variety of methods to encourage gamblers, such as free food and drinks, cigarette breaks, and entertainment shows. Casinos may also offer a percentage of winnings to the players. These profits are known as comps.
Because large amounts of money are involved, both patrons and staff members may be tempted to cheat or steal. To prevent these activities, many casinos use a variety of security measures. For example, cameras are located throughout the casino and the games themselves are often monitored electronically. In addition, some casinos have specially designed chips with built-in microcircuitry that allow the house to monitor and oversee betting activity minute by minute. Others rely on computer programs that regularly scan and check roulette wheels, dice, and other mechanical devices for any statistical deviation from their expected values.
Gambling is a popular pastime for millions of Americans. In 2005, 23% of American adults reported visiting a casino. These gambling venues range from the glittering hotels of Las Vegas to the illegal pai gow parlors in New York’s Chinatown. Most of the people who gamble in casinos are older adults. According to research done by Roper Reports GfK NOP and the U.S. Gaming Panel by TNS, the average American casino gambler is a forty-six-year-old female from a household with above-average income.