What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance and skill. Some of these games are played on tables, while others are played on video poker machines or slot machines. Most casinos offer a variety of incentives to attract customers, including comps, which are free or discounted entertainment, meals and hotel rooms. Other promotions include tournaments and loyalty programs. Some online casinos also feature real money gaming options.

Casinos make money by charging patrons a percentage of the total amount of bets placed. This fee is known as the vigorish, rake or house edge and can vary from game to game. A casino’s built-in advantage can be as low as two percent, but it adds up over the millions of bets that are made.

In the nineteenth century, many European cities built casinos to lure tourists with gambling and other amenities. In the twentieth century, American cities such as Atlantic City, New Jersey; Las Vegas; and Reno expanded their offerings to accommodate visitors from across the nation and around the world. In addition, casinos started to appear on Native American reservations, where they were not subject to state antigambling statutes.

Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. To combat this, most casinos employ security measures such as cameras and rules of conduct. Some even have catwalks that allow security personnel to look down on patrons through one-way glass.