What Is a Casino?


A casino, also known as a gambling house or gaming hall, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos are most often found in resorts, hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, and retail shopping centers. Some casinos specialize in certain games, such as poker, baccarat, or roulette; others feature a variety of table and slot machines. In some countries, casinos are operated by government-licensed organizations.

Something about gambling (perhaps the presence of large amounts of money) encourages patrons and staff to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently; thus, most casinos spend a great deal of time and money on security. The most basic measure is a series of cameras that watch every table, window, and doorway; more sophisticated systems can adjust the camera’s focus to single out suspicious behavior.

In addition to cameras, casinos use technology to supervise the games themselves. For example, betting chips with built-in microcircuitry enable the casino to keep track of exactly how much money is being wagered minute by minute; automated systems supervise the results of roulette wheels to discover any statistical deviations.

To stimulate gamblers, casinos provide a range of amenities, including food and drinks. They also offer “comps,” free goods and services, to loyal customers. These can include free hotel rooms, meals, show tickets, or even limo service and airline tickets for high rollers. Most casinos have specific rules about who qualifies for comps; a good tip is to ask the host or information desk about what the rules are.