A casino, also known as a gambling house or gaming hall, is an establishment that houses a variety of games of chance and provides its patrons with various amenities such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. The name is a combination of two Latin words, cazino (“to play”) and house (“house”). Casinos may be standalone facilities or part of hotels, resorts, or entertainment complexes.
While most people picture large Las Vegas casinos when they think of a casino, these institutions come in all shapes and sizes. Some are small, defined more by the types of gambling they offer than by their glitz and glamour. Others are massive and designed to dazzle visitors with their huge halls and aisles, unique ornamentation and brilliant lighting. The atmosphere of a casino is often one of excitement and noise, with players shouting encouragement to each other or the dealers.
While gambling is a game of chance, something about casinos seems to encourage cheating, stealing and other underhanded activities. As a result, casinos devote much time and effort to security. Besides the obvious surveillance cameras, which monitor the entire floor and can be adjusted to focus on particular suspicious patrons, electronic systems in some table games track betting patterns to quickly spot any statistical deviations; and roulette wheels are regularly monitored for tampering with their internal mechanics. For the most part, though, casinos allow their patrons to gamble without interference from staff. This allows them to maximize their profits.