A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Typically, casinos feature gaming tables and slot machines. They may also have restaurants, bars and live entertainment. Many casinos are combined with hotels, resorts, or other tourist attractions. The term casino may also refer to a fictional place in a film or book.
While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers help draw people to casinos, the vast majority of their profits—some $5 billion annually in the United States—come from games of chance, including blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and video poker. These games are based on mathematical odds that give the house an advantage over players. In some cases, such as in poker, where players compete against each other, the house takes a percentage of all wagers, known as the rake.
The large amounts of money handled within a casino can create temptations for both patrons and staff to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. For this reason, most casinos are heavily guarded and have surveillance cameras throughout. Security personnel on the floor watch over the games to spot blatant cheating or suspicious betting patterns. Table managers and pit bosses have a broader view of the table games and keep track of how much each player is winning or losing. To encourage gamblers to spend more, casinos offer perks called comps that allow them to exchange loyalty points for free or discounted food, rooms and shows. These points are tracked by the casino’s computer system and tallied on the patron’s account.