What Is a Casino?

A casino (or gaming house) is a gambling establishment that accepts wagers and pays out winnings according to the odds. It may also offer other services such as restaurants, luxury accommodations, or even stage shows. In the United States, casinos are licensed and regulated by state governments. Casinos are commonly found near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shopping, and cruise ships. A small number of casinos are operated by religious organizations, Native American tribes, or other non-gambling entities.

A key to the success of a casino is its ability to attract and retain high-spending patrons. In the twenty-first century, casinos have become choosier in this regard and offer big bettors lavish inducements in the form of free spectacular entertainment, reduced-fare transportation, elegant living quarters, and so on. In this way, a casino can ensure a certain minimum level of gross profit for its games.

Casinos employ a variety of security measures to prevent cheating and other irregularities. Casino employees keep close watch over the games and patrons to spot blatant cheating techniques such as palming, marking, or switching cards or dice. Table managers and pit bosses supervise the table games with a broader view, keeping an eye out for betting patterns that indicate tampering or collusion.

In addition to these onsite measures, many casinos use technology to monitor and control their games. In particular, casinos use computerized systems to track bets and pay out winnings minute-by-minute; roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any deviation from expected results. In addition, the use of video cameras in the lobby and casino floor has become commonplace.