What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment that offers customers games of chance. The games usually have a built in statistical advantage for the casino, which is known as the house edge. The advantage may be a small amount, but over time and billions of dollars in bets it can add up to a substantial sum. The casino makes money by charging a commission or a “vig” on the bets, and also from complimentary items given to gamblers, known as comps. Some casinos, especially in Las Vegas, make a significant portion of their revenue from high rollers who bet large amounts and spend many hours at the tables. These gamblers are often rewarded with free hotel rooms, meals and tickets to shows.

In the twenty-first century casinos are increasingly choosy about whom they let in. Many have separate high-roller rooms where the stakes (the amount bet) can be in the tens of thousands of dollars. These gamblers are rewarded with luxury suites and much personal attention. Some casinos even offer limo service and airline tickets to these high rollers.

The casinos have to be careful about security because of the large amounts of money that pass through their hands. They use cameras throughout the facility and have rules about what patrons can and cannot do. They also monitor the games for patterns that might signal cheating. The dealers’ routines for shuffling and dealing cards, for example, have certain patterns that security personnel can spot if they see something out of the ordinary.