What Is a Casino?


A casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. It is also known as a gambling house or a kasino, and it may contain a mix of different games of chance and skill. Some casinos also offer dining, shopping and entertainment. Most casinos in the United States are operated by large hotel and resort chains. Others are owned by independent entrepreneurs or investors, some of whom have stakes in several casinos. The best-known casinos are located in Las Vegas, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Most casinos earn their money by imposing a percentage of all bets made on their gaming machines or tables. This fee is called the vig or rake, and it can be substantial, especially on some games such as video poker, where the house can take up to 10 percent of the player’s bankroll. Some casinos also charge a commission for dealing cards or taking a percentage of the bets placed on table games such as blackjack and baccarat.

While these fees help casinos avoid losses and stay in business, they do not generate sufficient revenue to offset operating expenses. As a result, casinos often seek alternative sources of income, such as the sale of beverage and food service rights and the operation of non-gambling attractions like sports books and live entertainment. In addition, some casinos are located on land leased to them by local governments for public use, such as parking lots and convention centers.

Because of the large amounts of money involved, casinos are vulnerable to theft by both patrons and employees. To combat this threat, many casinos employ security measures such as closed circuit television and manned guard stations. In some cases, these cameras are augmented by sophisticated electronic systems that monitor the action in real time and warn staff of any suspicious activity.

Although some casinos offer a wide variety of games, most specialize in one or more types. In the United States, these include slot machines (including video poker), blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat. Some casinos also feature less-popular games such as two-up, sic bo, fan-tan and pai gow.

A casino’s success depends on its ability to attract and keep customers, as well as the amount of money it can win from those patrons. The most successful casinos offer expensive inducements to big bettors, such as free shows and luxury rooms. In addition, they give out complimentary goods or services to regular players, known as comps. These rewards may include meals, drinks, limo service and even airline tickets.