A casino is a gambling establishment where patrons may gamble on various games of chance or skill. Most of these games are supervised by employees, and the house has at all times a mathematically determined advantage over the players (known as the “house edge”). The casinos generate revenue through these built-in advantages and other fees and commissions.
The games in a casino are generally designed to create a high-energy atmosphere of noise, light and excitement. Often the tables are crowded together, and players shout encouragement to one another or compete against each other. Alcoholic drinks are freely available and delivered directly to the players by waiters circulating on the floor. Nonalcoholic beverages are also provided. The lighting in a casino is bright and sometimes gaudy, and red is a popular color for the walls because it stimulates the eyes. Clocks are not usually displayed, because the urge to gamble can easily overtake the sense of time.
Most casinos are located in places where people travel for leisure, such as resort towns, and they are often combined with other tourist attractions, such as hotels, restaurants or retail shopping. Critics of casino gambling argue that the money spent by gamblers on hotel rooms, meals and entertainment more than offsets any initial profits a casino might earn. In addition, they claim that compulsive gambling erodes family values and can cause serious psychological problems for the gambler. They also argue that the tax revenues generated by casino gambling do not offset local spending by gamblers, and they point to studies showing that the social costs of treating problem gambling often exceed any initial income a casino might bring in.