What Is a Casino?



A casino is a public place where a variety of games of chance can be played and gambling is the primary activity. Some casinos have hotels, restaurants, non-gambling game rooms, bars and swimming pools to attract visitors. The most famous casino is in Monte Carlo, Monaco, but there are many more around the world, from Las Vegas to Macau and beyond.

Casino games are based on luck and probability, though some have an element of skill (like poker). The house has a mathematical advantage over the players; this is called the house edge. Casinos often give players free goods and services, called comps, to encourage them to play; these can include hotel rooms, meals, show tickets, limo service and airline tickets. A casino must also pay out winnings promptly.

In modern casinos, security personnel keep an eye on everything that happens in the gambling area. Dealers are trained to spot blatant cheating, such as palming or marking cards and dice. Each table has a pit boss or manager who watches the games and looks for betting patterns that could indicate cheating.

Some people claim that the net value of a casino to a local economy is negative, because it steals money from other forms of entertainment and can lower property values in surrounding neighborhoods. Others claim that the social costs of treating problem gamblers negate any economic benefits a casino may bring. A few states have legalized casinos to increase revenue and promote tourism.