What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for gambling. Its customers bet against the house, which makes money by taking a percentage of each bet placed. This is known as the “house edge.” Casinos also charge a vig or rake on certain games, such as video poker and blackjack. They earn their income through this and other fees, as well as from the sale of food, drinks and cigarettes.

Despite their seamy reputation, casinos are big business. In fact, according to the American Gaming Association, 51 million people -a quarter of the population over 21 – visited a casino in 2002.

Because of their popularity, casinos have grown to be enormous in size. In addition to a massive number of gambling tables, they often offer hotels, restaurants, non-gambling game rooms, bars, swimming pools and other amenities. They are a common destination for families and groups of friends.

Security is high at casinos, and casino staff members have many responsibilities. Dealers are heavily focused on their games and can easily spot blatant cheating such as palming or marking cards. Pit bosses and table managers watch over the games with a broader view, noting betting patterns that could signal cheating.

Technology has greatly increased the sophistication of casino security. For example, electronic systems monitor the numbers of chips that are deposited in each slot and alert the casino if a pattern develops. Other technology keeps an eye on roulette wheels and dice to detect any statistical deviations from the expected results.