A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos are usually combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships or other tourist attractions. In Europe, they have become a major source of income for many countries in the last few decades, and in general their image has been positive. In the United States, however, the legal status of casinos varies.
Most casinos offer games of chance, but a few have elements of skill. Most have a mathematically determined house edge that ensures the house will always win. Casinos monitor game play and pay out winning bets with electronic sensors. This technology allows them to oversee the exact amount of money wagered minute-by-minute, and to discover any anomalies quickly.
Many casinos focus on customer service. They offer perks designed to encourage gamblers to spend more, such as free drinks while playing, reduced-fare transportation and hotel rooms, and discounted food and show tickets. They also use technology to monitor the behavior of patrons. During the 1990s, for example, some casinos used video cameras and computer systems to track the movements of players around the tables.
Most casino patrons are people with above-average incomes who are looking for a fun night out. Almost half of all casino gamblers are women, and most are forty-five years old or older. The average American household has two casino-goers. The majority of these people are white. The remainder are black, Hispanic, or Asian. Several Asian casinos feature traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo, fan-tan, and pai gow.