What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance and in some cases skill. Most casinos also have a wide variety of other entertainment options, such as restaurants and bars, live stage shows, and other amenities. While some countries have banned or restricted the activity of casinos, in many places they are a popular source of entertainment and tourism.

Most casino games are games of chance, though some include elements of skill (such as roulette, craps, and blackjack). In these games the house has a mathematical advantage over the patrons, which is called the house edge. The house edge may vary between games and between different casinos, but is always less than 100 percent. In games where players compete against one another, the house takes a commission, or rake, from the wagers made by players.

Security at a casino is generally tight, with cameras and electronic surveillance systems constantly monitoring the activities of patrons. On the floor, dealers are heavily trained to watch for blatant cheating such as palming or marking cards or dice. Pit bosses and table managers have a broader view of the action, keeping tabs on betting patterns and looking for other signs that patrons are trying to steal chips or cheat.

The casino business is extremely lucrative, and even modest casinos generate substantial income. For example, the Las Vegas Strip casinos earn billions of dollars in annual revenue from slot machines alone. A few cities and towns are almost defined by their casinos, most notably Monaco, where the Monte Carlo Casino is an international symbol of sophistication and a major tourist attraction.