What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment, where patrons can gamble for money. Some casinos are owned by governments and are operated under strict regulations to ensure fair play. Others are privately owned and run with a varying degree of autonomy. Casinos are most often built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. They may offer a variety of casino games, including slots and table games. Some also have theaters where guests can watch shows or listen to live entertainment.

Casinos spend a lot of time and effort on security, since cheating and theft are common. They use a mix of people and technology to monitor the floor and patrons, with dealers trained to spot suspicious betting patterns. Security personnel also watch video feeds from surveillance cameras to identify and deter cheating.

Unlike other forms of gambling, most casino games are social activities. Whether playing craps, poker or blackjack, players are usually surrounded by other people and the action is loud and lively. Several types of drinks are available, served by waiters or bartenders who circulate throughout the casino. Nonalcoholic beverages are usually complimentary.

Most casino profits come from the gamblers who make large bets, called high rollers. These customers are treated to free luxury suites and other perks, because the casino knows that they have the financial capacity to keep them gambling for long periods of time. Casinos try to attract these high rollers by offering them a mathematical expectation of winning, or a “house edge” of less than one percent.