What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment offering games of chance and skill. The games of chance include baccarat, blackjack, roulette, and craps. The skill-based games include poker and video poker. Some casinos also feature Far Eastern games like sic bo, fan-tan, and pai gow. The games are often combined with restaurants, hotels, and other tourist attractions to attract visitors.

Casinos earn their profits from the vig (vigorish) and/or rake, which are collected by the house from gamblers at each game. In addition, they may offer free food and drinks to patrons. Casinos have a number of security measures to prevent cheating and theft, including cameras that monitor all tables, rooms, and windows and catwalks in the ceiling where surveillance personnel can see patrons at the tables through one-way mirrors. Some casinos have high-tech “eyes in the sky” that allow security workers to monitor the entire casino from a room filled with banks of security screens.

Casinos can be found in most countries, with the exception of Japan and some Latin American countries where gambling is illegal. Many are built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and cruise ships. In the United States, some states require casinos to be licensed. Critics argue that casinos do not bring economic benefits to a community, and that compulsive gambling destroys families and depresses local spending. They also point out that casino revenues are offset by the cost of treating problem gamblers and lost productivity from their addiction.