What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that provides games of chance and sometimes skill. Many casinos offer a wide variety of gambling activities, and some even feature restaurants and live entertainment. Casinos may be standalone or attached to hotels, resorts, or other entertainment venues.

Casinos make money by providing an advantage over the players. This edge, mathematically determined for every game offered, can be lower than two percent, but it is enough to enable casinos to build extravagant hotels, fountains, pyramids, towers, and replicas of famous landmarks. It is also enough to pay for the luxurious suites and top-notch service that many casinos are known for.

This advantage is earned by the casino through commissions taken from the payout of a wager, or “vig,” in table games like blackjack and video poker. It is also earned through a percentage of the bets placed on machines such as roulette and baccarat, or by the rake in poker games where the player is playing against other players instead of the casino.

Security starts on the casino floor, where employees watch games and patrons to spot cheating (like palming or marking cards or switching dice). Pit bosses supervise table games with a more sweeping view of the whole table. Computerized systems monitor slot machine activity minute by minute and alert operators to any statistical deviation from expected results. The mathematicians and computer programmers who work for casinos on this kind of analysis are called gaming mathematicians or analysts.