The casino is a gambling establishment that provides patrons with opportunities to win money through game playing. Casino games include slot machines, table games and poker. Successful casinos generate billions of dollars each year for investors, owners, and operators. They are also a major source of income for local governments.
While it is true that some casinos have a built in advantage, the amount of money won or lost by individual patrons is largely determined by luck. The house edge can be quite small, less than two percent, but it is enough to earn casinos millions of dollars each year. This money allows them to build elaborate hotels, fountains and replicas of famous landmarks.
Despite their lavish appearances, modern casinos are designed with security in mind. Specialized departments handle both physical and electronic security, and cooperate closely. Physical security patrols the floor and respond to calls for help or suspicious behavior, while a specialized surveillance department runs the closed circuit television system known as the eye-in-the-sky. These systems can monitor every table, change window and doorway. They can also be adjusted to focus on specific patrons by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of security monitors.
The modern casino began to evolve in the second half of the 19th century, with a growing number of countries changing their laws and permitting casinos. By the 1980s, many American states had legalized casinos, either in Atlantic City or on Indian reservations. Today, there are more than 1,000 casinos in the United States and thousands worldwide.