What Is a Casino?

A casino is a building that houses a variety of gambling activities. Its purpose is to make money through the house edge of games like blackjack, roulette and slot machines. In addition, many casinos also offer table games like baccarat, chemin de fer and trente et quarante. Casinos are often combined with hotels and resorts, and some have restaurants and retail shops. In some countries, such as the United States and Canada, casinos are licensed and regulated by government agencies to ensure fair play for patrons.

Security in casinos is a high priority. Since patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, casinos employ a variety of measures. These include surveillance cameras, manned patrols and security personnel stationed at critical locations. Some casinos even have employees trained in gaming analysis, a field that includes game theory and mathematics. These employees, known as gaming mathematicians and gaming analysts, can tell a casino exactly how much profit it will make on each hand of a card or dice roll by studying the betting patterns.

Besides security, casinos often reward their loyal patrons with free goods and services, known as comps. These can be as simple as free drinks and food, or as lavish as hotel rooms, show tickets and airline tickets. Casinos can keep track of a player’s activity by utilizing technologies like “chip tracking,” where the betting chips have built-in microcircuitry that enables casinos to oversee them minute-by-minute; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored so that any statistical deviation from expected results is quickly discovered.