What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers gamblers the opportunity to place bets on games of chance or skill. It may also offer food and drinks, and some casinos host live entertainment. Some casinos are located near resorts, cruise ships, hotels, or other tourist attractions. In some cases, they are standalone buildings. The term casino is also used for a gambling establishment in Europe.

The casino business is almost always a profitable enterprise. Every game of chance has a mathematical expectancy that ensures the house will win more often than it loses. Moreover, casino employees keep a close eye on patrons and their betting habits, watching for blatant cheating like palming cards or switching dice. In addition, elaborate surveillance systems provide a high-tech eye-in-the-sky view of the entire floor, which can be directed by security workers at a separate room filled with banks of monitors.

A casino’s profit is further enhanced by comping large bettors with free or discounted goods and services. These incentives are often based on the amount of time and money a player spends at the casino, but can also include meals, hotel rooms, limo service, tickets to shows, and airline flights. While this revenue is important, economic studies have shown that the negative effects of compulsive gambling far outweigh any casino’s profits.