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What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment where people wager money on games of chance. The games vary, but some examples are roulette, baccarat and blackjack. The house always has a mathematical advantage over the players, known as the “house edge.” Casinos make their money by taking a commission on some of the bets and by offering complimentary items to high rollers.

The casino has long been a place for socializing and entertainment as well as gambling, but modern casinos are more like indoor amusement parks with elaborate themes, lighted fountains and shopping centers. Musical shows and hotel rooms provide other revenue sources, but the billions of dollars in profits raked in by American casinos every year come primarily from gambling.

Many states have passed laws permitting casinos, especially in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. More recently, American Indian reservations have opened their doors to casinos. The casinos are operated by various types of organizations and are licensed, regulated or legalized by the jurisdiction in which they operate.

Casinos must be secure to prevent cheating, theft and other crimes, which is why they spend a great deal of money on security. They also employ sophisticated surveillance technology, including an “eye-in-the-sky” system that lets security workers see every table, window and doorway at once. The cameras are also adjusted to zoom in on suspected suspicious patrons. In addition, the patterns of games — the way dealers shuffle and deal cards, for example, or how gamblers react to winning and losing – follow certain rules that are easy for security personnel to spot.