What Is a Casino?

A casino, or gambling house, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos offer visitors a variety of games, including slot machines and table games (like poker), and often provide entertainment shows. Some casinos are standalone buildings, while others are part of larger resorts or hotels. Most states have laws regulating the operation of casinos.

When most Americans hear the word “casino,” they probably picture one of the megaresorts in Las Vegas, a city that has become synonymous with glitz and glamour. But casinos can also be found in other places, such as Atlantic City, New Jersey and Chicago, Illinois. And many state governments allow Native American tribes to operate casinos on their reservations.

The games played in a casino are mostly chance, although some involve skill. In general, the mathematical odds are against game players, and this is why casinos make their profits by charging an hourly fee for games such as blackjack or video poker, taking a percentage of each pot at table games, or by collecting an admission charge at doorways. To mitigate these probabilities, casinos employ a variety of technologies to monitor and regulate their operations. For example, modern slot machines use microcircuitry that allows the casino to track bets minute by minute and alert staff when there is a deviation from expected results; roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any statistical anomalies. The use of technology is also extended to other aspects of the casino environment, such as security and surveillance.