What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment where people bet money on games of chance or skill, including card games like blackjack and poker, and table games such as roulette and craps. A casino also offers the option of sports betting and horse racing. In the United States, a casino is a licensed establishment that must comply with state regulations.

According to the American Gaming Association, about 51 million people-equivalent to roughly a quarter of the country’s population over 21-visited casinos in 2002. They came to a variety of locations, from the glittering Las Vegas Strip to the underground pai gow parlors of New York’s Chinatown.

In order to maximize profits, casinos have long employed a number of incentives for patrons. These include free spectacular entertainment (often in the form of shows), reduced-fare transportation, and elegant living quarters. In games such as blackjack and video poker, the house always has a mathematical advantage over the players; this is known as the house edge.

Casinos are staffed by trained security personnel who are skilled at recognizing anomalies in gambling behavior, particularly when they arise in the pattern of an individual’s play. These patterns, such as when a player places his or her chips on the table in a way that indicates they intend to leave early, are based on observed behavior and statistical analysis. In addition, casino employees look for telltale signs of problem gambling, such as excessive betting or frequent pauses in play.