Security at a Casino

A casino is a large building where people can gamble and play games of chance. Modern casinos offer a wide variety of gambling activities, from slot machines to table games. They also provide food, drink and entertainment. Some even have special areas for high-stakes gamblers. In 2008, 24% of Americans reported visiting a casino in the previous year. Casinos are most common in Nevada, but they also exist in many other states and in countries around the world.

A modern casino has a complex system of security, divided between physical personnel and a specialized surveillance department. The physical security force patrols the casino floor and responds to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. The surveillance department, on the other hand, is equipped with a number of cameras that can be focused on specific patrons and adjusted from a control room. These cameras are often referred to as the eye in the sky, and they can track any suspicious activity or criminal act from almost anywhere in the casino.

Casino security starts on the floor, where casino employees keep an eye on players and the games to make sure everything goes as it should. Dealers watch over the table games, looking for blatant cheating such as palming or marking cards and dice. Pit bosses and table managers have a broader view of the tables, watching for any betting patterns that might indicate cheating or collusion. These personnel also monitor game results, keeping track of how much each game is winning or losing.

In addition to monitoring the casino floor, security personnel watch the casino’s finances, ensuring that the house doesn’t lose more than it is winning. This is achieved by taking a percentage of each bet, called the vig or rake. It’s not as big a percentage as the house edge, which is built into all casino games and ranges from about two percent for roulette to more than five percent for some video poker variants.

Another way casinos make money is by giving out complimentary items or comps to players. This can include food and beverages, rooms in their hotels or free show tickets. Casinos also use chips instead of real money to reduce the risk that gamblers will be concerned about the amount of cash they are losing. They also have a variety of methods to help keep gamblers interested, such as using bright and sometimes gaudy colors on the floors and walls to stimulate the senses.

In the past, organized crime figures controlled many of the major casinos in Nevada. They provided the funds for expansion and renovation as well as the glitzy spectacles that attract visitors. Today, the mob’s role is less evident in casinos, which are now run mostly by professional businessmen. However, a few casinos are still owned by mobster families. Some casinos are also located on American Indian reservations, which are exempt from state anti-gambling laws. The mobsters’ old-style extortion and drug dealing rackets may be replaced by a more discreet type of crime, such as money laundering or bribery.