What Is a Casino?


A casino, also known as a gambling house, is a place where people can gamble and enjoy other entertainment activities. Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants and shopping centers. Casinos can be found around the world and are a popular tourist attraction.

Despite stage shows, fancy hotels and top-notch restaurants, casinos are not much different from other public places that accept bets on games of chance. Although many add luxuries to draw in customers, they would not exist without the billions of dollars in profits generated by games such as slots, blackjack, roulette, poker, baccarat and craps.

Most games have a built in mathematical advantage for the casino, which is called the house edge or expected value. This advantage, however small, provides enough revenue to cover operating expenses and provide patrons with free items, called comps. In a game such as poker where players compete against each other, the casino takes a percentage of winnings, which is referred to as the rake.

In recent years, real estate investors and hotel chains have acquired casinos because they have deeper pockets than the mobsters who once ran them. These businesses have boosted security levels to prevent the mob from getting involved again, and to protect their gaming licenses. They have also added technology such as chip tracking, which allows the casino to monitor and verify the amounts wagered minute by minute. Roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any deviation from their expected results.