What Is a Casino?


A casino is a public place where a variety of games of chance can be played. Gambling is the primary activity, but casinos also offer restaurants, free drinks, stage shows and dramatic scenery to attract gamblers. Some are large enough to house a wide range of other entertainment attractions, such as shopping and pools.

As the regulated gambling industry developed, casinos began to add more luxuries to lure patrons. Free drinks and dining, hotels and non-gambling game rooms have all become staples of the modern casino. A variety of games, including blackjack, poker and video poker, are offered in these massive facilities.

Despite the fact that some of these games involve an element of skill, the house always has an advantage over the players and this is known as the “house edge.” The casino’s financial mainstay remains slot machines, which allow the player to input a fixed amount and watch as bands of colored shapes roll past on reels (actual physical or video). The machine then determines whether the pattern matches a pre-determined payout.

Because large amounts of money are handled within casinos, it is not uncommon for both patrons and staff to cheat or steal. Consequently, most have security measures in place to prevent this. In addition to cameras and personnel, many have systems that monitor and supervise the games themselves. For example, some slot machines have chip tracking, which records the exact amount wagered minute-by-minute; roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any statistical deviations from their expected results.