What Is a Casino?


A Casino is a gambling establishment where patrons play a variety of gambling games, such as poker, blackjack, and roulette. Usually, casino games are played against other players or against the house. Often, casinos offer a wide array of food and drink, including free drinks while gambling. Casinos have security measures to prevent cheating and stealing. These include cameras, security personnel, and rules of behavior and conduct.

Unlike lotteries, where winning is entirely random, the games in casinos have built-in advantages that ensure that the house will win. The house edge on a single American roulette wheel, for example, is 5.26%. That means that for every $1 million wagered, the casino will pocket only about $50,000.

In the United States, about 51 million people—about a quarter of all adults who are 21 or older—visited a casino in 2002. Generally, these were middle-aged and older adults from households with above-average incomes. The average gambler was a forty-six-year-old woman.

Most casinos have a mix of table and slot machines, with some featuring traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo (which spread to European and American casinos in the 1990s), fan-tan, and pai gow. Tables may also feature traditional games of local interest, such as two-up in Australia or boule in France.

Casinos use a variety of techniques to attract and keep their customers, from dazzling lights and sounds to a wide variety of gaming options. Slot machines, for instance, are designed to appeal to the senses of sight and hearing, with brightly colored lighting, electronic tunes to a musical key that is pleasing to the ear, and clangs of coins dropping from the reels.