What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment for games of chance. These establishments are found all over the world, from massive resorts in Las Vegas to small card rooms in Native American casinos. Casinos earn billions of dollars each year from gamblers, as well as for the companies, investors, and Native American tribes that own them. They also benefit local economies through taxes and other payments.

In the United States, the economic mainstays of casinos are roulette and craps. Both appeal to big bettors, who can afford to lose large sums quickly. The house advantage on these games is less than 1 percent or even lower. Slot machines and (since the 1980s) video poker machines are the other big money makers, because they can be adjusted to yield virtually any profit desired by the owners.

Modern casinos are guarded by a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department. The security forces patrol the casino and respond to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. The surveillance departments operate closed circuit television systems, known in the industry as “eyes in the sky.” These systems allow casino employees to watch every table, window and doorway through one-way glass. They can adjust the cameras to focus on suspect patrons or areas in need of attention.

Most casinos have a number of in-house restaurants, and many feature an array of slot machines and bingo. They also offer a variety of shows and other entertainment. Players who spend considerable time playing or make large bets are known as “good players” by the casino, and are often given comps such as free hotel rooms, meals or tickets to shows.