What Is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Most casinos offer a combination of gaming and non-gambling attractions, such as shopping, shows and restaurants. Some also have nightclubs and/or bars. In some countries, casinos are legalized and operate under state supervision. Other casinos are operated by private corporations. Some casinos specialize in specific games, such as poker or other card games, while others operate machines like slot and roulette.

While musical shows, lighted fountains, lavish hotels and elaborate themes attract visitors to the world’s most famous casinos, gambling remains at their core. Slots, table games and other gambling activities account for billions of dollars in profits raked in by casino owners each year.

Modern casino security is generally divided between a physical force that patrols the building and a specialized department that oversees closed-circuit television systems known as “eyes in the sky.” The latter technology provides a panoramic view of the casino floor, which can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons by workers in a room filled with banks of monitors.

Most casino games have mathematically determined odds that ensure the house always has a slight advantage over players. This is referred to as the house edge, and is the primary source of the profit casinos make from their gamblers. To offset this disadvantage, casinos offer big bettors extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment and luxury travel. They also offer lesser bettors reduced-fare transportation, hotel rooms and food and drink while gambling.

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