What Is a Casino?

A casino, also known as a gaming house, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Most casinos are built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and other entertainment venues. In the United States, casinos can be found in cities such as Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and Reno. In some countries, such as Italy, Spain, and Singapore, casinos are regulated by government authorities.

While a casino might be known for its musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels, the billions of dollars in revenue it generates each year are largely due to games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and other table games all give the casino a built in advantage that, over time, earns the institution money.

These odds are called the house edge, and they are what make a casino a profitable enterprise. They can be as low as two percent, but they add up over the millions of bets placed by patrons each year.

To ensure that they maintain this profit margin, casinos invest heavily in security. Dealers are trained to watch for blatant cheating, like palming cards or marking dice, while pit bosses and tables managers have a wider view of the entire game area and can catch suspicious betting patterns. Elaborate surveillance systems offer a high-tech eye-in-the-sky, with cameras able to be adjusted to focus on specific areas. This is how casinos keep the mob at bay. They know that the slightest hint of a problem can quickly cost them their licenses.