A casino is a gambling establishment that offers patrons the opportunity to gamble on games of chance or skill. In some games, such as poker and blackjack, the players compete against each other. In most casinos, the house has a mathematical advantage over the gamblers. This advantage is known as the house edge, or expected value. Casinos attempt to minimize the house edge by offering a variety of perks to gamblers. These perks include free or discounted meals, drinks, hotel rooms, and show tickets. In addition, casinos employ elaborate surveillance systems, with cameras located throughout the casino and in hallways that lead to game tables.
Casino patrons tend to be wealthy, older adults. In 2005, the average casino patron was a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with an above-average income. Most casino gambling is done in groups, and gamblers often cheer each other on or shout encouragement. Casinos feature loud music and flashing lights to attract attention. More than 15,000 miles (24,100 km) of neon tubing adorns many Las Vegas Strip casino buildings.
Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, both staff and patrons may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. Security measures typically include surveillance cameras and rules of conduct. Some casinos also have elaborate systems to track patrons’ behavior and spending patterns, such as cards that are swiped before each game, a system called player tracking. Other casino security measures include a high-tech eye in the sky that can watch all table games at once and is adjusted by computer to focus on suspicious patrons.