What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Many casinos offer a wide range of gaming options, including table games like blackjack and roulette, as well as slot machines and poker rooms. Some casinos also feature top-notch hotels, spas, and restaurants. The MGM Grand in Las Vegas, for example, is famous for its storied poker room and has hosted some of the world’s most famous pugilists, from Muhammad Ali to Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler.

Modern casinos typically employ both physical security forces and a specialized surveillance department. The security departments work closely to monitor all activities in the casino and respond quickly to reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. They also use sophisticated technology to supervise the games themselves. For example, in baccarat, the cards are electronically monitored for any statistical deviation from the expected value; in roulette, a computer is used to monitor the spin of the wheel and alert the pit boss when an anomaly occurs.

Casinos generate their income primarily by establishing the house advantage of each game and charging players for the privilege of playing them. This advantage is mathematically determined, and is uniformly negative from the player’s point of view. In addition to the house edge, some games have an element of skill, and a small percentage of the money wagered is returned to players as winnings. Moreover, in games where players compete against one another, the casino earns money through a commission called the rake.