What is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people can play various gambling games. In addition to the usual gambling tables, casinos often feature stage shows and restaurants. Most states regulate casino gambling, although some have banned it. Nevada is the leading casino state.

Historically, casino owners have provided lavish inducements to attract high-stakes gamblers. These incentives have included free spectacular entertainment, hotel rooms and airline tickets. More recently, major real estate investors and hotel chains have bought out the mob-owned casinos. With the threat of losing their gambling license at the slightest hint of mob involvement, these companies have purged the casinos of any semblance of gangster ties and turned them into gambling meccas for the rich and famous.

Casinos make money by taking a percentage of the total bets placed by patrons. This is called the house edge. It is very small for most casino games, but it adds up over time. Casinos also earn a fee from games where players compete against each other, such as poker. This fee is known as the rake or vig.

Casinos are increasingly using technology to control their business and to detect cheating. For example, in a system called “chip tracking,” betting chips with built-in microcircuitry interact with electronic systems that allow the casinos to oversee exactly how much is being wagered minute by minute and to quickly discover any statistical deviation from expected results. Some casinos have even installed sophisticated video cameras that give them a virtual eye-in-the-sky that allows security personnel to watch every table, change window and doorway.