What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers various games of chance. These include poker, blackjack, craps, roulette and baccarat. Some casinos also offer bingo, keno and other card games. A casino is a popular form of entertainment in many countries. In addition, it can be a major source of income.

Casinos earn money by giving patrons complimentary items (complimentary comps) or cash (payout). The house has a built-in statistical advantage, called the edge or vigorish, in every game it offers. This gives the casino a net profit for each bet placed on its games, even when it loses some of them. This advantage is based on the fact that a game of chance has an overwhelmingly negative expected value for the player.

Most casino employees are heavily focused on their own games and can easily spot blatant cheating such as palming, marking or switching cards and dice. They also look for suspicious betting patterns. Most casinos have catwalks above the gaming floor, where surveillance personnel can watch players and their actions through one-way glass.

Casinos make a significant portion of their profits from high-rollers, who place large bets and gamble for long periods of time. These people are usually given free extravagant inducements, including hotel rooms, meals, shows and limo service. High-rollers are a small percentage of total gamblers, but they contribute the most to casino earnings. In 2005, the typical casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with above-average income.

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