What Is a Casino?


A casino, also known as a gambling house or gaming hall, is an establishment that offers gamblers the opportunity to win money by playing games of chance. Some casinos specialize in a certain type of game, while others offer a variety of different games. Most casinos also feature restaurants, hotels, and other entertainment venues.

Something about casinos (maybe the glitz and glamour or the fact that they deal in large amounts of money) seems to encourage people to cheat or steal, either in collusion with other patrons or independently. That’s why casinos spend a lot of time and effort on security measures. Cameras located throughout the casino are a basic measure, and sophisticated systems provide a “eye-in-the-sky” that can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons.

During the 1990s, casinos stepped up their use of technology to supervise the games themselves as well. For example, some betting chips have a built-in microcircuit that interacts with electronic systems to enable casinos to monitor the exact amount of money placed on each bet minute by minute; roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to detect any statistical deviation from expected results.

Casinos make their money by taking a percentage of the total bets made by players. This “vig” is usually lower than two percent, but it adds up over the millions of bets placed each year by casino customers. Some casinos also give free goods and services to their high-volume players, called comps, which can include free hotel rooms, meals, tickets to shows, and limo service or airline tickets.