A casino is a place where gambling activities take place. In addition to the actual games of chance, many casinos offer a variety of other luxuries to help attract and keep patrons: restaurants, free drinks, stage shows and dramatic scenery. A casino does not have to include all of these amenities in order to be a casino; there have been plenty of less lavish places that would still technically qualify as casinos.
Modern casino design tries to create a unique, upscale environment for its patrons. The lighting and carpeting are often designed to add to the overall atmosphere. The sound system may also be geared to create a sense of excitement and mystery. Some of the more elaborate casinos (especially those on the Vegas strip) try to create an entire experience, with themed restaurants and other attractions.
Despite the luxuries, casinos are primarily businesses, and they must make money from their customers. As such, every game of chance has a built-in statistical advantage for the casino, which can range from less than two percent to as much as fifty percent. This advantage, known as the house edge, is what gives casinos the ability to spend millions on fountains, pyramids and towers.
The presence of large sums of money seems to encourage people to cheat and steal, either in collusion or independently; this is why most casinos devote a considerable amount of time and effort to security. In addition to security personnel, some casinos employ high-tech “eyes-in-the-sky” surveillance systems, which allow casino employees to monitor every table, window and doorway.