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A casino is a gambling establishment that offers various games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and other games provide the billions of dollars in profit raked in by casinos each year. While musical shows, lighted fountains and elaborate hotels help draw in customers, the real money is made by gambling.

Although some casino games require a certain degree of skill, most have built-in odds that ensure the house always wins. This advantage is known as the house edge. The casino’s profits are calculated from the difference between the expected value of a bet and the amount actually paid by a customer. The casino also charges a rake, or commission, on the monies wagered by players at table games.

During the 1980s, investment banks began to take a larger interest in the casino business. Many of these banks now control entire casinos. While this helps bring in new money and create jobs, critics argue that compulsive gambling is destructive to local communities by diverting spending away from other entertainment, hurting property values and lowering tax revenue. Additionally, the cost of treating problem gamblers and lost productivity from those suffering from this addiction often reverses any economic gains a casino may bring to a city.

In modern times, the technology used in casinos is far more sophisticated. For example, the betting chips at casino tables are wired to allow the company to monitor exactly how much is being wagered minute by minute; and the roulette wheels are electronically monitored to quickly discover any statistical deviation from expectations. Security personnel are also constantly patrolling the floors to keep out criminals and suspicious patrons.