What Is a Casino?


A casino is a facility in which gambling activities are conducted. Casinos often offer a wide variety of games of chance and provide luxuries such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows to attract customers. In some cases a casino will be part of a larger hotel or resort and include amenities such as spas.

While casinos have become synonymous with glitz and glamor, they are actually quite complicated businesses. Each game in a casino has a built-in advantage for the house, which can be as low as two percent of total bets. This profit, known as the “house edge” or “vig,” allows a casino to make millions of dollars in bets every year and pay out only a small percentage of winning bets. These profits allow casinos to construct elaborate hotels, fountains, towers and replicas of famous landmarks.

Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal. To avoid this, most casinos have extensive security measures. These include security cameras located throughout the facility, and video-monitored roulette wheels and dice tables. In addition, many casinos hire mathematicians and computer programmers to design special systems that monitor game results and alert them to any statistical deviations from expected results.

The largest concentration of casinos is in Las Vegas, followed by Atlantic City and Chicago. However, many American states have casinos, either on Indian reservations or in cities that have passed laws allowing them to operate. Several casinos also have opened on riverboats and in other places that are not subject to state antigambling statutes.