What Is a Casino?


Casino is a large gambling establishment offering a variety of games of chance and skill. Successful casinos draw in billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors and Native American tribes that operate them. They also generate significant tax revenues for local governments. Casinos are often located in areas attractive to tourists, such as waterfront locations and resorts. They may be massive, sprawling resorts with a variety of entertainment options or small card rooms in bars and other private businesses. In addition to gaming tables and machines, they offer food, drink and other amenities.

Gamblers who win at a casino can be rewarded with complimentary items (compliments or comps) for their play. This can include meals, drinks and show tickets. The more money a patron spends, the more valuable the comps become. Casinos are also able to track the activity of their patrons through casino computers. These systems tally their spending habits and alert security staff when an anomaly is detected.

Most casinos have a built-in advantage over players, which is mathematically determined and called the house edge. This can be as low as two percent in games such as roulette, which appeal to small bettors and require a low house edge, or as high as 14 percent for games like craps, which attract big bettors and require a higher edge. Casinos can offset this advantage by charging a commission, known as the vig or rake, to players.