A casino is an establishment for gambling. Its customers gamble by playing games of chance or skill, in some cases both. The casino profits from the money that the patrons bet, either by taking a percentage of all bets or by charging a commission on certain games, such as poker. Many casinos also have restaurants and bars.
Casinos are heavily guarded, and security personnel have a variety of tools at their disposal to protect the property and its patrons. Elaborate surveillance systems provide a high-tech eye-in-the-sky, with cameras monitoring every table, change window and doorway. Security personnel monitor the feeds from these cameras in a room filled with banks of secure, high-definition security screens. Security can even focus on specific patrons if suspicious betting patterns are observed. In addition, casino employees patrol the gaming floor, watching patrons and looking for any signs of cheating or stealing.
The majority of people who gamble in a casino do so legally, and the industry does not have a reputation for organized crime. Despite this, some casinos have been the target of mob takeover attempts. Ultimately, real estate investors and hotel chains with deeper pockets bought out the mobsters and ran their casinos without mob interference. Critics of the industry argue that casinos do not bring economic benefits to a community, and that the cost of treating compulsive gamblers negates any gains from gambling revenues. Nevertheless, the gambling industry is one of the fastest growing in the world.