When you hear the word casino, images of bright lights, big money and high-stakes gambling probably come to mind. The United States has casinos in cities from coast to coast, ranging from the glitz of Las Vegas’s strip to tiny mountain towns where 19th century Wild West buildings are converted into gambling venues. The popularity of these entertainment centers and the billions they rake in each year have helped make casinos one of the country’s most profitable tourist attractions, but they are also notorious for the damage they can do to local economies.
Casinos are designed to entice visitors with an atmosphere that is loud, noisy and exciting. They are usually lit with dazzlingly colored lights that create a stimulating and cheery effect, and they often feature gaudy floor and wall coverings. Some casinos even color their floors with a red hue, which is thought to help gamblers forget they are losing and encourage them to keep betting.
Gambling is not the only activity that takes place in a casino, but it’s the focus of most of the attention. Many modern casinos also feature restaurants, theaters and other forms of entertainment. Some are combined with hotels, resorts and other types of vacation accommodations.
Some casinos employ a variety of technological advances to monitor and control the games. For example, betting chips with built-in microcircuitry allow casinos to track the amounts that patrons wager minute by minute; electronic systems monitor roulette wheels to quickly discover statistical deviations from expected results. In addition, cameras and video machines are used for general security and surveillance purposes.