What Is a Casino?


A casino (or gambling house) is a place where people can gamble on various games of chance. These establishments are usually combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops and other tourist attractions. In the United States, casinos are usually regulated by state gaming control boards or commissions, and are operated by private companies or public authorities. People who play at casino can legally do so as long as they are of legal age and do not appear on a list of self-exclusion.

Some casinos specialize in particular games. Roulette, for example, is the main game in most European casinos, while craps attracts large bettors and requires a small percentage. Slot machines and video poker are the economic backbone of American casinos, generating revenue from high volume, rapid play at sums that range from five cents to a dollar or more. Some casinos also offer traditional Far Eastern games, such as sic bo and fan-tan.

Casinos are designed with a variety of security measures to prevent cheating and theft by both patrons and employees. Elaborate surveillance systems provide a high-tech eye-in-the-sky, with cameras that can be directed to focus on suspicious patrons. In addition to these measures, a casino is typically staffed with security workers who can spot blatant cheating techniques like palming, marking and switching cards or dice. Security is particularly important in a casino because of the large amounts of money that are handled frequently. In addition, windows and clocks are rarely seen in casinos, so patrons can gamble without being distracted by the passing of time.