What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. In addition to a large variety of games, casinos often offer entertainment and other amenities such as restaurants, bars, and luxury suites. Some casinos also host shows or provide other forms of live entertainment, such as stand-up comedy. The word is a contraction of the Latin casino, meaning “gambling house,” and it may also refer to an establishment that resembles a casino but does not include the games of chance.

Gambling in general is a risky business, so casinos must be especially careful to limit the number of patrons and monitor the behavior of those who are present. In order to assure fairness, many casinos have cameras that record each game. The results of individual games are monitored by mathematical computer programs to detect any statistical deviations from expected behavior. Those who oversee this work are called gaming mathematicians and gaming analysts.

Casinos make their money by charging a vig, or house advantage, on bets placed by customers. This can be as low as two percent, but it adds up over the millions of bets placed each year at a casino. To offset the house edge, casinos encourage gamblers to play by offering them comps, or free goods and services. These can include food, drink, hotel rooms, show tickets, and even airline tickets for high-stakes players.

Most modern casinos are built around a central theme such as water, mountains, or a famous city. They are decorated with bright and sometimes gaudy floor and wall coverings that are designed to stimulate the senses and inspire bettors. They are noisy and lively, with music playing constantly and waiters circulating to take bets and deliver drinks.