What is a Casino?


A casino (also called a gambling house or a gaming room) is an establishment offering various types of gambling. Most casinos have tables for card games and dice, but some have a variety of other games as well. Most casinos also offer free drinks and snacks to patrons while they gamble.

Most casino games have a built-in advantage for the house, which is mathematically determined and called the house edge. This means that, over a long period of time, the casino will make an average gross profit on bets placed by patrons. Because of this virtual assurance of gross profit, casinos are able to offer big bettors extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment, luxury transportation, hotel rooms, and even food and cigarettes while they gamble.

Because of the large amounts of money handled by the patrons and the employees, casinos have a high incidence of cheating and theft. This is why casinos invest so much time, effort and money in security. Security starts on the floor, where dealers watch over the tables and can quickly spot blatant cheats such as palming or marking cards. Pit bosses and table managers can also see the betting patterns on the table to see if anyone is trying to cheat the system.

While some states have banned or restricted casinos, most have permitted them on American Indian reservations and in cities like Las Vegas. There are now over 1,000 casinos in the United States, and they generate a great deal of revenue for their operators.