What Is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. In the United States, the term is most often used to refer to a hotel-style gambling facility with card tables and slot machines. Some casinos are stand alone operations, while others are part of larger resorts or hotels. In either case, the games played at these facilities are regulated by state and local laws.

Like any industry in a capitalist society, casinos are in business to make money. They rake in billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors and Native American tribes that own them. State and local governments also reap substantial revenues from casino profits in the form of taxes, fees and other payments.

In the simplest terms, a casino makes money by charging patrons for the privilege of playing their games. Depending on the game, this advantage can be as little as two percent. The money a casino collects from this “vig” or rake is then used to pay winning players and cover operating expenses.

Casinos employ a wide variety of methods to ensure the safety and security of their patrons. Many use video cameras to monitor activity in and around the gaming floor. Roulette wheels and dice are electronically monitored regularly for statistical deviations from their expected values. Casinos have also made significant investments in technology to improve the accuracy and speed of their payouts. In addition, they offer generous incentives to large gamblers in the form of free shows, luxurious living quarters and reduced-fare transportation.