What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for gambling. Modern casinos offer a wide variety of games, including baccarat, chemin de fer, roulette, blackjack and video poker. Many of these games have mathematically determined odds that give the house a slight advantage over players, and the house profits from these games by taking a percentage of each bet or charging an hourly fee to players (called a rake). The house also gives out complimentary items to gamblers, known as comps.

Casinos are located in many cities and towns, and many states have legalized them. They are often built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops and other tourist attractions. In addition to gambling, casinos sometimes host live entertainment events such as concerts and stand-up comedy.

Some critics say that casinos do not add to the economy, and instead transfer wealth from local residents to out-of-town tourists. They are also said to lower property values in the surrounding area. Additionally, studies show that gambling addicts generate a disproportionate amount of casino profits, and that the costs of treating problem gamblers can offset any economic benefits the casinos might bring.

Casinos are heavily regulated and closely monitored by state and federal agencies. They employ numerous security personnel and use sophisticated surveillance systems to ensure fair play. The specialized equipment used by casino security personnel can detect and highlight the slightest anomalies in game play or betting patterns. This “eye-in-the-sky” technology makes it easier for the security staff to spot cheats and liars.