What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for gambling. In the United States, casinos are regulated by state law. Some are stand-alone facilities while others are combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops and other entertainment venues. The games offered in a casino may vary but are typically centered on card and table games such as blackjack, poker and craps. Some casinos also offer other forms of gambling, such as horse racing or sports wagering.

Gambling is a risky business, and the presence of large amounts of money in a casino makes people prone to cheating or stealing. Casinos use a variety of security measures to prevent these problems, from cameras to physical barriers. In addition, employees watch patrons closely to spot blatant cheating or stealing. The tables are usually watched by a pit boss or table manager and the dealers are often monitored by a higher up, watching for expected reactions to cards being dealt and betting patterns.

Because every game in a casino has a built-in advantage for the house, it is rare that a player will win more than they lose. This mathematical expectancy is the basis for the term “house edge,” which is the average profit that a casino will make over time. As a result, casinos make their profits not from winning bets but from keeping their patrons playing for as long as possible. To this end, casinos reward their biggest spenders with comps such as free hotel rooms, meals and tickets to shows.