A casino is a place where gambling and other entertainment activities take place. Many casinos are located in resorts, hotels and other places that offer amenities such as restaurants, nightclubs and shopping. Others are standalone facilities for gambling, such as the Hippodrome in London (pictured), built over a century ago.
Gambling is a popular activity in the world. In the United States casinos are licensed and regulated by state and federal laws. Many American Indian reservations have casinos and are exempt from state anti-gambling statutes. Casinos also operate in several countries in Latin America and Asia.
In general, casinos are designed to stimulate gambling and spending by providing a glamorous, exciting environment. Bright and often gaudy floor and wall coverings are used to enliven the atmosphere. The absence of windows and clocks helps patrons lose track of time and enables them to gamble for hours without realizing how much they have spent. Clocks and windows are not usually visible from the casino floor, but guests may request to see them if they want to keep track of their winnings or losses.
In addition to enhancing the gaming environment, casinos use technology to enhance security and monitor players. For example, a slot machine may have a built-in microcircuit that interacts with a computer system to record bets minute by minute; electronic roulette wheels are monitored electronically to discover any statistical deviation from expected performance. Casinos also employ a variety of physical security measures, including the use of security cameras and the screening of employees and guests.