What is a Casino?


A casino is a public place where a variety of games of chance are played and where gambling is the primary activity. Traditionally, casinos add many features to their facilities to help attract and keep patrons, including restaurants, free drinks, dramatic scenery and stage shows. A casino may be a standalone facility or it may be part of an elaborate resort, such as the famous Monte Carlo casino in Monaco.

Casinos make money by accepting bets on games of chance, in some cases with an element of skill (like poker), and then taking a percentage of the bets, a fee called the vig or the house edge. This gives the house a mathematical expectation of winning, and it is very rare for a casino to lose money on a single day. This virtual assurance of profitability allows the casino to offer large bettors extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment, elegant transportation and living quarters, reduced fare hotel rooms, and free or discounted food and drink.

Given the large amounts of cash handled by casinos, both patrons and staff are tempted to cheat and steal, either in collusion or independently. This is why most casinos have extensive security measures. Elaborate surveillance systems allow personnel to watch every table, window and doorway, with cameras able to be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons. Some casinos have catwalks in the ceiling, with cameras that look down on the table or slot machines through one way glass.