What Is a Casino?


A casino is a facility where people can gamble and play games of chance. It is a popular form of entertainment and has been present in almost every culture throughout history. It is also an extremely profitable business and generates a great deal of revenue.

Something about gambling seems to encourage cheating and stealing among some patrons. This is why casinos invest so much time and money in security. Elaborate surveillance systems offer a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky,” with cameras that watch each table, change window and doorway. They can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of monitors.

Most casino games have some element of skill, but they also have mathematically determined odds that guarantee the house a constant advantage over the players. This advantage is known as the house edge. The casino also takes a cut of the action in poker and other card games, which is called rake.

In the past, casinos wooed the largest bettors with extravagant comps. These could include free spectacular entertainment, luxury living quarters, and reduced-fare transportation. Today, casinos are choosier about whom they attract and are more focused on the bottom line. They still reward large bettors, but they may limit the number of games that these high rollers can play.

The average casino visitor is a forty-six-year-old female with an above-average income. In 2005, this group made up 23% of all casino gamblers.