A casino is a building or room where gambling games are played. The term can also refer to the business of running such a place, including its management and ownership. Various countries and jurisdictions have legalized casinos with differing degrees of regulation and taxation. Most casinos are combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops or other attractions. Some casinos are operated by governments, while others are independent.
A person who is a frequent patron of a casino is called a “gambler.” Gambling has been popular throughout history in nearly every culture, from the ancient Mesopotamian game of alebi, to the more modern card games and roulette. Modern casinos are generally large, luxurious, and opulent, often built on or around scenic waterfronts or in mountainous regions. They are equipped with a wide range of gambling devices such as blackjack, poker, roulette, craps, and video games.
Most casinos have a security department that patrols the premises, and is responsible for responding to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious or criminal activity. Some casinos have a separate specialized surveillance department that monitors the gaming floor and other areas of the property with closed circuit television, or CCTV.
Casinos generate income by charging fees to patrons who play their games. These fees, known as vig or rake, are calculated as a percentage of the total amount wagered on a game. Each game has a built-in advantage for the casino, which can vary from less than two percent on roulette to more than five percent on some slot machines. To offset this advantage, most casinos offer big bettors extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment, luxury transportation and plush living quarters.