A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. It can add many other features to make it a special place to visit, such as restaurants, stage shows and spectacular scenery. But even less elaborate places that house gambling activities could be called casinos.
The most popular casino games are slot machines, which provide a large percentage of casino income. They are easy to play: a person puts in money and pushes a button; varying bands of colored shapes roll on reels (actual physical or electronic) and, if the right combination appears, the player receives a predetermined amount of money. The game requires no skill or strategy, and the outcome is based solely on chance.
Table games such as blackjack and roulette draw big bettors, but they are not as common as slots. Many casinos also offer Far Eastern games, notably sic bo (which spread to several European and American casinos during the 1990s), fan-tan and pai-gow.
Casinos are designed to encourage patrons to spend more than they can afford to lose, so they offer a wide variety of comps. For high rollers these can include free or reduced-fare transportation, rooms and meals. Less wealthy patrons are rewarded with coupons that can be exchanged for cash or free play.
Casinos must be careful not to encourage cheating or theft by staff members or patrons, so they employ a variety of security measures. These may include a closed circuit television system that monitors all areas of the casino, and the use of specialized chips with built-in microcircuitry to track betting amounts minute by minute and warn of any suspicious activity.