Casino, also known as the gaming hall or gambling house, is a place where people can play games of chance for money. Most casinos offer a variety of table and slot machines. They are staffed with employees who oversee and monitor the activities of patrons to prevent cheating or theft. Some casinos are located in tourist destinations, such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City, while others are independent operations. Some are owned by hotel chains or other legitimate businesses, while others are run by organized crime figures and mafia gangs.
Casinos use a number of tricks to attract customers and keep them gambling. They display bright, sometimes gaudy floor and wall coverings that stimulate the senses and cheer the gamblers. The sound of clanging coins and bells ringing add to the excitement of gambling. Casinos are lighted with more than 15,000 miles (24,100 km) of neon tubing, and the bright colors and sounds appeal to human senses.
Many casinos give free goods and services to gamblers who spend a lot of time there or bet large amounts. These complimentary items, which are also called comps, include things like meals, rooms, limo service and airline tickets. Casinos often rate their comps based on the amount of time spent playing and the amount of money gamblers wager.
Because of the large sums of currency handled inside casinos, patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat and steal, either in collusion or independently. Security measures include video cameras throughout the casino and sophisticated computer monitoring of table and slot machines. These devices have an eye-in-the-sky effect and can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons. In addition, some casinos have catwalks in the ceiling above the tables and slot machines that allow surveillance personnel to look down through one-way glass on the activity below.