A casino is a place where people can gamble. This form of gambling is popular in countries around the world, and can be found in hotels, resorts, restaurants, shopping malls, cruise ships, and sports arenas.
A casino can also be a small clubhouse or villa where people can gather for social occasions. Gambling was illegal in most of the United States until the mid-20th century.
Security is a key concern for casinos, as both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal money. To prevent this, casinos employ surveillance personnel at all levels of the casino to keep an eye on everything that goes on.
Surveillance begins on the floor with dealers and pit bosses watching over each game, making sure that players aren’t stealing from one another or betting without their knowledge. This is aided by the presence of camera systems that watch all the tables at once and adjust their lenses to focus on suspicious patrons.
Some casino games, such as roulette, are electronically monitored, so the exact amounts wagered are known minute-by-minute and a pattern of irregularities is recognized quickly. Other gambling games, such as slot machines, are operated by computers that calculate payouts automatically.
Despite these efforts, some criminals still try to sneak into casinos. The Mafia, drug cartels, and organized crime figures are some of the most notorious culprits. They have been known to use their wealth to influence the outcome of gambling games and take control of some casinos.