What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers games of chance for patrons. These establishments may offer blackjack, poker, roulette, baccarat, and slot machines. They are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. Casinos make money by charging a small percentage of each bet to cover overhead and pay for security. The percentage varies by game and type of bet. Typically the casino advantage is less than two percent.

Casinos rely on a combination of routine and technology to keep their gaming areas safe. Security personnel watch over games with a wide field of vision to spot cheating or other violations. Each table game has a pit boss or table manager who watches over the games with a more focused view to see if players are stealing chips or changing betting patterns that indicate fraud. These employees are constantly trained to look for subtle changes in behavior or body language that could indicate a cheating attempt.

Casinos also encourage gamblers to return by offering free shows and other amenities. These incentives are called comps. Players who spend a lot of time at the tables or slots are given free hotel rooms, meals and other items. Some casinos even give limo service or airline tickets to big bettors. But many critics argue that casinos damage local economies by shifting money from other entertainment options and by contributing to compulsive gambling. In addition, the cost of treating problem gamblers and lost productivity from casino workers often outweigh any economic gains a casino brings to a community.