What Is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. The modern casino often features restaurants, theaters and other amenities, but it would not exist without the games of chance that give it billions of dollars in revenue every year. Slot machines, blackjack, poker, craps and other games provide the basis for casinos.

Unlike other types of entertainment, gambling is a game in which the odds are always against the player. Casinos try to counter that disadvantage by offering perks designed to encourage gambling and reward those who do. A good example is comps, or complimentary goods and services, given to big bettors at casino tables and slot machines. Free hotel rooms, dinners and tickets to shows are common comps. Airline and limo service are offered to very large bettors.

In addition to comps, many casinos employ a variety of security measures. Video cameras watch the entire casino floor and can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons. Roulette wheels and other table games are monitored electronically to discover statistical deviations from expected results. Some casinos also use sophisticated computer chips that monitor betting amounts minute by minute and warn staff when there is a suspicious pattern.

Many state governments regulate the casino industry. They create rules and regulations for casino operators based on state law, and they license the venues. A separate agency, called a racing and gaming commission or similar name, oversees pari-mutuel betting, including harness and thoroughbred horse races.