What Is a Casino?


A casino is a facility where people can gamble on games of chance or skill. Casinos are often large, luxurious resorts offering a variety of entertainment options. They may also contain restaurants, bars, and other amenities. Casinos generate billions of dollars each year for their owners, investors, and local governments. Casinos operate worldwide in various forms, from massive facilities resembling traditional Las Vegas hotel-casinos to small card rooms. In the United States, casino-type games are also found at racetracks and some bars, as well as in truck stops and other small businesses.

Gambling at a casino is usually done in a social setting. Players are seated at tables or slot machines in groups, and the game atmosphere is noisy and lively. Waiters circulate with alcoholic drinks, and casino staff encourage gamblers by shouting encouragement or offering free food and drink. High-tech surveillance systems offer an eye-in-the-sky view of the entire gaming floor, enabling security personnel to quickly focus on suspicious patrons.

Most casino games have a built-in advantage for the house, which is called the house edge or vigorish. This edge can be very low, but over time it earns the casino enough money to cover operating costs and make a profit. Casinos earn additional revenue from the sale of drinks and snacks, and from a commission on games that pit players against each other rather than against the casino, such as poker. They also give out complimentary items to their customers, called comps.