What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers games of chance. It can also have dining, entertainment and retail shopping and is often located in a resort destination. In some cases, it is a standalone facility. Some casinos offer specific types of gambling, such as a poker room or a sports book. Other casinos feature a variety of games, including blackjack, baccarat, roulette, craps and slot machines. In the United States, casinos are regulated by state law.

Most modern casinos rely on mathematical odds to make money, ensuring that the house always has an advantage over players, even in games with no skill element. The house edge, sometimes referred to as the “vig” or “vigorish,” is usually less than two percent, but it adds up over time and billions of dollars in bets.

Many casinos use elaborate inducements to keep gamblers playing and spending. This may include offering big bettors free spectacular entertainment, transportation and elegant living quarters. Casinos also give out complimentary items, or comps, to regular gamblers, such as discounted travel and hotel rooms, food and drinks while they play.

Some casinos use catwalks in the ceiling to allow surveillance personnel to look directly down, through one-way glass, on activities at table games and slot machines. They also monitor players through cameras that can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons. These cameras are positioned throughout the casino and are also wired to a control room where security staff can monitor all activity from any point in the building.