What is a Casino?

A casino (or gambling house) is an establishment where people gamble by playing games of chance, in some cases with an element of skill. It is a popular form of entertainment and draws in millions of visitors each year. Casinos feature gaming tables and slot machines, often combined with restaurants, bars, shopping centers, hotels and other amenities. Some casinos focus on specific types of games, such as poker, baccarat or craps.

Like other businesses, casinos must make money to survive. They achieve this by charging patrons a “house edge” on every bet placed in their premises. This advantage can be as low as two percent, but it adds up over the billions of dollars that are wagered in a single casino each year. In addition to house edges, casinos also collect other fees and commissions from players such as a percentage of slot machine payouts or the rake in poker.

Because of the large amount of cash handled in casinos, both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. To combat this, casinos have extensive security measures. Many of these involve sophisticated technology such as cameras placed throughout the casino, chips with built-in microcircuitry, and roulette wheels that are monitored electronically for statistical deviations from their expected results. In some casinos, surveillance personnel can even look down through one-way glass at table games and slot machines from a catwalk in the ceiling.