What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers various games of chance and, in some cases, skill. In most of the games, the house always has a built in statistical advantage, or edge (this may be expressed more precisely as an expected value that is uniformly negative from the player’s perspective). Casinos make their money by taking a small percentage of each bet placed, called the vig or rake, or by offering complimentary items to players.

The most famous casinos in the world have become iconic destinations in their own right, drawing hordes of tourists and celebrities alike. The Bellagio fountain show in Las Vegas, for example, is a must-see for visitors to Sin City, and the Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco and the Casino Baden-Baden in Germany are equally impressive.

Some casinos specialize in a particular type of game or a certain theme, such as poker, and many of them have restaurants and bars, too. Others are more general and have multiple gaming facilities, along with hotels, spas, non-gambling game rooms, and entertainment venues. Modern casinos are highly sophisticated operations with a dedicated management and security staff. The large amounts of cash handled within a casino make it vulnerable to criminal activity by both patrons and employees, who may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. Casinos therefore employ a number of security measures, including closed circuit television and other surveillance systems. Some casinos also have a physical security force and a specialized department for investigating reports of suspected crime.