Whether they’re the flashy casinos in Las Vegas or the clandestine pai gow tables of New York City, gambling establishments draw in potential customers by offering games of chance and providing a social atmosphere. Successful casinos rake in billions of dollars each year for investors, corporations, Native American tribes and state and local governments. But for those who visit them, a casino’s location is less important than the experience it offers.

Gambling establishments come in many sizes and shapes, but most casinos are designed to maximize the amount of money a patron spends. This is achieved through a variety of methods, the most basic of which is offering complimentary items or “comps.” During the 1970s, for instance, Las Vegas casinos were famous for their inexpensive travel packages and free show tickets to attract people to gamble.

More sophisticated casino design techniques involve lighting and floor and wall coverings that can affect the players’ mood. Red, for example, is a popular color in gambling halls because it is thought to stimulate the senses and make gamblers lose track of time. Casinos also pay close attention to security. Video cameras monitor all activities and, with the help of electronic systems such as “chip tracking,” can pinpoint exact amounts wagered minute by minute. Roulette wheels are electronically monitored for statistical deviations and alert the pit bosses to any anomalies. In addition, casino employees are trained to spot suspicious behavior.