What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment that features games of chance. Some casinos also have restaurants, hotels, and other entertainment options. Some are located in tourist destinations such as Las Vegas, while others are located in cities with large populations of people who enjoy gambling.

Casinos make money by charging a “vig” or a percentage of each bet, which covers operating expenses and provides a profit. This vig is generally a small fraction of the overall bets made by patrons. A casino’s advantage over individual players can be less than two percent, but it can add up quickly, especially if many visitors play for long periods of time.

The casino industry has grown tremendously over the past several decades, and it is estimated that nearly two-thirds of all adults gamble at least occasionally. The average casino gambler is a forty-six-year-old female from a family with above-average income. This age group accounted for 23% of all casino gamblers in 2005.

Something about the nature of gambling (perhaps the proximity of large amounts of money) seems to encourage cheating and scamming, so casinos spend a lot of money on security. Modern casinos employ a combination of physical security and a dedicated surveillance department.

Casinos are usually very large, and some have been built into hotels or other landmark buildings. They may feature elaborate decor, hundreds of games, and other amenities such as non-gambling game rooms and restaurants. In some countries, such as South Africa, casinos are part of large resorts that include hotels and other attractions.