What Is a Casino?

A casino, also called a gambling house or gaming establishment, is a place where people can engage in gambling activities. Casinos offer a variety of gambling games and are often combined with hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, night clubs, bars, and other entertainment venues. The largest casinos are in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, but there are many others around the world.

Casinos employ various security measures to prevent cheating and stealing by patrons and employees. These measures include cameras, which monitor the entire casino floor for suspicious betting patterns or blatant palming of cards or marking of dice. Each table game has a designated pit boss or table manager who watches over the game, looking for crooked dealings and other telltale signs of tampering. Elaborate surveillance systems provide a high-tech eye-in-the-sky, with security workers in a separate room watching video feeds from every table and changeable window.

While all games of chance have a mathematical expectancy of losing money, casinos make most of their profits from the few big bettors who win large amounts. To attract these high rollers, they offer a number of free or reduced-fare perks such as hotel rooms, meals, tickets to shows and limo service.

These perks are often called comps, and they are a way for the casino to reward its most loyal customers. However, critics claim that the high cost of treating problem gamblers and the loss of productivity from their addictions more than offset any economic benefits casinos may bring to a community.