What Is a Casino?


A casino, also known as a gaming house or kasino, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. The term is most often used to refer to a full-scale recreational facility such as one found in Las Vegas, Nevada, although it can also describe a smaller operation. In addition to gambling, casinos sometimes offer restaurants and other entertainment activities. Regardless of the type of casino, most are built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships and other tourist attractions.

There are three general categories of casino games: gaming machines, table games and random number games. Gaming machines are games of chance operated by electronic or mechanical devices and do not require the involvement of casino employees to play. Table games, such as blackjack and craps, involve a combination of skill and chance and are conducted by casino employees known as croupiers or dealers. Random number games, such as roulette and keno, are based on the selection of random numbers.

Casinos are designed to encourage gambling by offering a variety of perks to patrons, especially high rollers and VIP customers. These include free drinks, buffets and show tickets. The goal is to attract enough gamblers to offset the operating costs of the facility and, possibly, make a profit. The large amounts of money handled within casinos give rise to concerns about security and the potential for cheating and theft by both patrons and casino staff. Security measures typically include closed circuit television (CCTV) and other monitoring systems, secure vaults for large cash deposits, and employee screening and training.

The majority of casino profits are generated by machine games, especially slot machines and video poker. These machines are programmed to return a certain percentage of the money that they take in, assuming the player follows basic strategy. The percentage returned varies by game; for example, baccarat is generally considered a low-return game, while pai gow and sic bo have higher returns.

Other casino games make less money, but are still important to the operations. These include table games like baccarat, craps and roulette. Table games often have a minimum bet and maximum bet, and the table limits can be adjusted to control the amount of money that is bet. Some table games are regulated by law to limit the maximum bet and the number of players.

As the world’s disposable income increases, more and more people are traveling to casino destinations. Traditionally, these have been primarily leisure destinations, but increasingly casino operators are targeting business and convention travelers as well. They are building new facilities in cities around the world and expanding existing ones to accommodate the growing demand. The newest casino complexes feature thousands of slot machines and hundreds of table games, as well as restaurants, hotels and other amenities. Some even have swimming pools and other entertainment venues.