What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a wide range of games of chance and, in some cases, skill. Some casinos are also known for hosting live entertainment, such as stand-up comedy, concerts and sports. Many casinos are owned and operated by large companies. Others are independent and exist only as a place to host gambling activities, such as poker tournaments or blackjack games. Casinos can be found worldwide, although some places are better known for their casinos than others. Monte Carlo, for example, is famous for its casino.

Most casinos are built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and other tourist attractions. Various state laws govern the operation of casinos. In the United States, for example, casinos are licensed by state gaming control boards. Those that operate in the Las Vegas metropolitan area are also subject to regulations from the Clark County Gaming Control Board.

Casinos are highly profitable enterprises. They make their money by taking a percentage of bets made by patrons. This advantage is mathematically determined and called the house edge. It is possible for a gambler to win more than the casino takes, but this is rare and usually results from extremely bad luck or a series of poor decisions. The casino also makes money by selling items to patrons and by charging an hourly fee for the use of a table. Casinos are susceptible to cheating and stealing by patrons and staff, both in collusion and independently. Security measures are therefore a primary concern for casino owners. In addition to cameras and other surveillance equipment, some casinos employ chips with microcircuitry that interacts with electronic systems at the tables to allow monitoring of bets minute by minute and alerts the house when a problem arises; or they use automated roulette wheels and video-supervised poker machines that are able to discover and report any deviation from expected performance.