What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment offering games of chance and operated by a licensed person. It is often a standalone facility but can be combined with hotels, restaurants, and other amenities. The term may also refer to an establishment that is similar but is not operated by a licensed person, such as a private club.

Casinos are most commonly associated with the United States, but they exist worldwide. In the United States, most casinos are located in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. In Europe, the Casino de Monte-Carlo is a famous casino. Casinos can be very large, but are often designed in a compact and elegant manner that makes efficient use of space.

Security is a major concern in casino operation. Because large amounts of money are handled within a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. This is why casinos spend a lot of time and money on security. Cameras throughout the facility are a basic measure, but there are other techniques as well. Casino games follow certain patterns, and security people are trained to spot anything that deviates from those patterns.

Casinos make their money by charging a percentage of bets placed on their machines or tables. This is called the vig or rake, and it can add up to significant profits over the millions of bets placed in a single casino. Casinos also have built in advantages in some of their games that are designed to reduce the overall house edge to a small number. The mathematics of this kind of design is complex and is sometimes outsourced to specialists in the field.