What Is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people gamble by playing games of chance or skill. These games include poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, and slot machines. A casino may also have a restaurant, bar, and entertainment venue. In the United States, casinos are regulated by state and local laws. Some casinos are operated by private companies, while others are owned by public organizations such as cities or towns. Some casinos are built on Native American reservations, which are exempt from some state gambling laws.

Casinos make their money by giving patrons an advantage over other players, usually a mathematical edge that can be very small, but which adds up over millions of bets. This advantage is referred to as the house edge. In addition, the house takes a commission on some games, known as the rake.

Modern casinos employ a wide variety of security measures. These often include a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department, which operates the casino’s closed circuit television system, known as the eye-in-the-sky. The cameras can be focused on suspicious or criminal activity and are adjusted by security personnel who work in a room filled with banks of monitors.

Despite these precautions, casinos still attract cheaters and thieves. For example, my childhood friend once got a job as a security guard at a casino in Atlantic City and had to quit after only three months because he was sick of seeing people soil themselves while standing by slot machines in the hopes of winning.