What Is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people can gamble on games of chance. The games of chance that make up the majority of casinos’ profits include slot machines, roulette, craps, baccarat, blackjack and poker. While musical shows, lighted fountains and lavish hotels draw in visitors, casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars raked in by the gambling games they offer.

Regardless of the skill level of the individual player, most casino games have built in advantages for the house. This advantage, which can be very small (less than two percent), gives the casino an expected profit. This profit, which is sometimes referred to as the house edge or vig, is used to pay casino employees and cover other costs. Casinos hire mathematicians and computer programmers to work out the expected value of different games. These professionals are sometimes referred to as gaming analysts or mathematical gamblers.

Casinos are regulated and licensed by governments in the countries in which they operate. They are also obligated to maintain certain standards of integrity and honesty in order to stay profitable. Many casinos are owned by organized crime figures or are financed with money from illegal rackets such as drug dealing and extortion. As a result, the casinos often have a tainted image and are viewed with suspicion by legitimate businessmen.

Modern casinos use a variety of sophisticated technology to ensure fair play and prevent cheating. For example, some casino card games now feature built-in microcircuitry to allow casinos to monitor wagering minute by minute and discover any abnormalities. Other casinos have sophisticated surveillance systems that enable security workers to watch every table and window in the building at once.

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