What Is a Casino?


A casino, or gambling house, is a place where people can gamble on various games of chance. Typically, these establishments add a variety of other attractions to attract patrons, including restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. But even more modest places that house gambling activities can still be called casinos, if they offer the same basic amenities.

Security is a big concern of any casino, especially since gambling seems to inspire cheating and theft. This is why casino employees have a strong presence on the floor and watch over every table. Dealers are trained to spot blatantly obvious cheating, such as palming cards or marking dice. Pit bosses and managers have a wider view of the entire floor, watching for patterns in bet sizes that could signal dishonesty.

Most casino games have a built in advantage for the house, although this can vary from game to game. Roulette, for example, has a much lower edge than craps or blackjack. In order to earn a profit, the casino has to take in more bets than it loses. This is reflected in the vig, or rake, charged to bettors.

Some critics of casinos point out that the social and economic costs of problem gambling outweigh any initial revenue a casino may bring in. These critics also argue that casinos shift spending away from other forms of local entertainment and lower property values. Nevertheless, most governments legalize casinos and regulate them. They often appear on Indian reservations, which are exempt from state antigambling laws.