What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It is also known as a gaming house or a gambling hall. Typically, casinos combine gambling with other entertainment activities such as restaurants and shopping centers. It is also common for casinos to host live entertainment events such as concerts and shows.

Gambling is done by playing games of chance or, in the case of poker and some other table games, skill. Most casino games have mathematically determined odds that guarantee the house an edge over players, which is called the house advantage. In games where skill plays a part, the house edge is lessened by the use of advanced strategies such as card counting. In games where players compete against each other, the house earns money via a commission, or rake, from each player’s wagers.

Elaborate surveillance systems offer a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” that can watch every table, change window and doorway. These cameras can be adjusted by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of security monitors to focus on suspicious patrons. In addition, some casinos have a “spotters” who watch the floor from a hidden position and report any suspicious activity to security personnel.

In the past, many casinos were run by organized crime groups, but mob control was largely removed in the 1980s as large real estate developers and hotel chains bought out the smaller operators. Most states have now legalized casino gambling, with Nevada and New Jersey particularly famous for their huge resort casinos. Many casinos are also located on American Indian reservations, which are not subject to state antigambling laws.