What Is a Casino?


A casino is a building or room in which gambling takes place. Casinos are most often associated with the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, although they exist in many other places. Many casinos are combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and other tourist attractions.

Casinos make money by charging a commission or “vig” on bets placed by patrons. The vig can vary, but is generally higher on games of chance than on skill-based games like poker. Casinos also generate income from table games, such as roulette and craps, by offering reduced-fare transportation, hotel rooms, free drinks and cigarettes while playing, and other inducements.

The emergence of organized crime in the United States in the 1950s brought mob money into casino ownership and management, adding to gambling’s seamy image. Mafia members were involved in gambling operations in Reno and Las Vegas, even taking sole or partial ownership of some. They also lobbied against state laws that would restrict their involvement in casino gambling.

Security in a casino begins on the floor, where employees keep an eye on players and their behavior. They are trained to spot blatant cheating, such as palming cards or marking dice. Cameras are constantly monitoring the gaming areas, and computer systems can quickly detect any statistical deviation from expected value. Casinos also employ table managers and pit bosses to supervise the games, keeping an eye out for crooked dealers or other problems. In addition, they discourage players from using windows and clocks to determine how long they have been gambling.