What Is a Casino?


A casino is a large room or building in which gambling takes place. It can also refer to a group of casinos or to the entire business sector of the industry. Casinos generate billions of dollars annually for the companies, individuals, and Native American tribes that operate them. They are also major sources of revenue for state and local governments.

Although some casino games involve an element of chance, the majority are based on skill. In these games, the house has a mathematical advantage over players; this is known as the house edge. The house edge is not the same for every game; it depends on the specific rules and even the number of decks of cards used. In games where the patrons compete against each other, such as poker, the casino makes a profit by taking a percentage of the pot or charging an hourly fee for playing space.

Because casinos are in the business of making money, they must attract and keep gamblers. In addition to offering a wide variety of games, they employ various methods to stimulate the senses and create a mood of excitement. They use bright and sometimes gaudy floor and wall coverings that are stimulating to the eye, as well as sounds, such as a cling clang noise when coins drop during payouts.

They also offer rewards programs in which gamblers can accumulate points that may be exchanged for free meals, drinks, or shows. In addition, they use technology to oversee the games themselves: betting chips have microcircuitry that allows them to be tracked minute-by-minute; roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any statistical deviation from expected results; and video cameras monitor casino activity.