A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It may also be combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. In military and non-military usage, the term is sometimes used for a barracks or officers’ mess.
A large part of the casino business is about maximizing gambling revenues and the profits of the owners. To this end they encourage gamblers to play by offering perks like free rooms and drinks, cheap show tickets and discounted travel packages. They often use bright and occasionally gaudy floor and wall coverings to stimulate the senses and distract players from thinking about how much they are losing. And they do not put clocks on their walls because it is thought that the sight of a clock would spoil the thrill of betting on dice or cards.
During the 1990s casinos significantly increased their investment in technological surveillance systems. These allow them to monitor the precise amounts wagered minute by minute on every table and warn quickly of any statistical deviation from expected results. The system called “chip tracking” even allows a computer to track individual betting chips as they move around the table.
Today the Bellagio in Las Vegas is probably the best-known casino in the world, a place of elegance and sophistication that made its way into the movies in Ocean’s 11 as well as in the hearts of many visitors who want to experience for themselves the spectacle of its dancing fountains and breath-taking art installations. But there are plenty of other, less lavish casinos that still have something to offer the intrepid gambler who wants to try his luck and maybe make a big score.