What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment where people can risk money by playing games of chance or skill, or both. Typically, casinos are located in cities that have legalized gambling, such as Las Vegas and Reno in Nevada and Atlantic City in New Jersey. People can gamble by playing table games, such as blackjack and roulette, or video poker and slots. Some casinos also offer other forms of gambling, such as sports betting and horse racing. Some casinos specialize in specific types of games, such as Asian-style games such as sic bo and fan-tan.

Most casino games have mathematically determined odds, giving the house an advantage over players. This advantage is sometimes referred to as the house edge or expected value. Some casinos give gamblers perks to encourage them to spend more money, such as complimentary food and drink or free hotel rooms. During the 1970s, casinos in Las Vegas famously offered heavily discounted travel packages and cheap buffets, which drove gambling revenue by attracting more people to the city. Casinos in other parts of the world have similar incentives for high-spending gamblers.

Security in a casino starts on the gaming floor, where employees keep an eye on players to make sure all is as it should be. They are also trained to spot cheating or improprieties, such as palming, marking or switching cards or dice. Casinos employ higher-up personnel to monitor casino patrons from a distance, to look for suspicious betting patterns or other signs of a player trying to gain an unfair advantage.