What is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. In some countries, casinos are combined with hotels or resorts; others are located in standalone buildings. Casinos are often known for offering perks to encourage gamblers to spend more money; these are called comps. Free hotel rooms, meals and even show tickets are commonly offered to “big spenders.” Ask a casino employee or someone at the information desk how to get your play rated.

In modern casinos, a combination of physical security forces and a specialized surveillance department patrol the premises, aided by a closed-circuit television system that can be viewed remotely through monitors mounted to the ceiling (known as the eye in the sky). Some casinos also use computerized systems to oversee the games themselves, with chips featuring built-in microcircuitry that enable them to keep track of exact amounts wagered minute by minute; roulette wheels are electronically monitored frequently to discover statistical deviations quickly.

Casinos make money by charging patrons a percentage of their total bets to operate the games. This profit, known as the house edge, can be as low as two percent or as high as eighty percent; it can vary by game, and the overall profits of a casino depend on the volume of play. Critics argue that casino revenue shifts spending from other local entertainment, that compulsive gamblers drain the community’s resources and that the cost of treating problem gambling effectively reverses any economic gains a casino might bring.