What Is a Casino?


A casino (or gaming house) is an establishment for gambling. Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and even cruise ships. They can be found in the United States and around the world. Several states have legalized casinos, and many countries have nationalized them. Casinos are also commonly found on American Indian reservations, where they are not subject to state anti-gambling laws.

While lighted fountains, musical shows and luxurious hotels may draw crowds, the vast majority of a casino’s profits come from games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, and keno account for the billions in earnings raked in by casinos every year.

Because large amounts of money are involved, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. To prevent this, casinos employ a variety of security measures. These range from simple cameras to elaborate systems that offer a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” view of every table, window, and doorway.

The security force in a casino is usually divided into two departments: a physical security force that patrols the property, and a specialized surveillance department. The latter is equipped with sophisticated cameras that are monitored by casino personnel. These can be adjusted to focus on specific suspicious patrons, and the video is recorded for future review. As a result of these and other precautions, most casinos are safe places to visit. However, it is important to understand that a casino is not a charitable organization that gives away free money. Like any other business, it has a set of built-in advantages that ensure the house will win in the long run.