A casino is a public place where people can play games of chance for money. The exact origin of gambling is unknown, but it has been practiced in almost every culture throughout history. During the 19th century, Atlantic City and other American cities grew to have casinos. In the 1980s casinos began appearing on American Indian reservations, which are not subject to state antigambling laws. Many states amended their laws in the 1990s to allow casinos.
The economic impact of a casino depends on its size and the number of patrons it attracts. Larger casinos generate greater profits than smaller ones. Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, it is important for its security staff to monitor patrons and protect against theft. This is often accomplished by placing cameras throughout the facility. Security personnel may also use one-way mirrors to observe the activity in casino tables and slot machines.
While some of the money a casino earns comes from a percentage of all bets placed (the house edge), most of its income comes from high-stakes players who bet large amounts. These big bettors are often offered extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment, transportation and elegant living quarters. Comps (complimentary goods or services) are given to good players, depending on the amount of money they gamble and the time they spend at a table or machine. Some of these are food, drink and ticket vouchers; others are hotel rooms and limo service.