What Is a Casino?


A casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, with the majority of its entertainment (and profits for its owners) coming from games of chance. Slot machines, black jack, roulette, craps, keno and other games provide the billions of dollars in profits raked in by casinos each year.

In general, a casino’s built-in advantages ensure that it will always win the money wagered by its patrons. This is known as the house edge, and it applies to every game played. In the case of poker, for example, the casino takes a cut of the pot or charges an hourly fee to players who use its tables. While these fees may seem small, the cumulative effect over time is a substantial profit for the casino.

Something about gambling, perhaps the sight of large amounts of cash in close proximity, encourages people to cheat and steal. As a result, casinos spend a lot of time and money on security. This is not only to protect their patrons, but also to prevent illegitimate gamblers from taking advantage of the unknowing.

While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers help lure in the crowds, casinos would not exist without the games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat make up the bulk of the billions in profits casinos pull in every year.

In addition, many casinos offer a variety of other table and card games. Asian casinos, for example, often offer traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo, fan-tan and pai gow. European casinos frequently feature baccarat, chemin de fer, and other classic card games.

Despite these built-in advantages, casinos still have to compete with other forms of entertainment for patrons’ dollars. As a result, they offer a wide range of amenities and incentives to attract gamblers. These may include free spectacular entertainment, reduced-fare transportation and elegant living quarters.

Most casino patrons are fairly affluent; a 2005 study by Roper Reports GfK NOP and TNS found that the typical American casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old female from a household with an above-average income. These patrons are usually accompanied by family members or friends.

In addition to a physical security force, modern casinos employ specialized surveillance departments. These departments operate cameras that monitor the casino’s entire floor from a room filled with banks of security monitors, nicknamed “the eye in the sky.” The casino staff can adjust the camera angles to zoom in on suspicious or threatening behavior. They can also record and review footage after a crime or theft has taken place. This type of sophisticated surveillance technology has proven successful in preventing thefts and fraud. The cameras can also be a useful tool in investigating the identity of a gambler who is caught with stolen property. The casino can then take legal action against the individual to recover the stolen goods or their monetary value. In some cases, the casino will even reimburse the victim for any lost merchandise.