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What Is a Casino?

A casino (also known as a gambling house or a gaming establishment) is an institution where people can engage in casino games. It offers a wide range of gambling options, such as slot machines, poker and other card games, roulette, baccarat and craps. A casino also provides other entertainment options such as shows and fine dining. It can be found in many places, including land-based casinos, cruise ships and riverboats, and online.

Something about the glitz, glamour and large amounts of money handled in casinos encourages cheating and stealing, both in collusion with other patrons or by random chance. As a result, casinos spend much time and money on security. This includes ensuring that all patrons are identifiable, using surveillance cameras to watch every table and changing window; elaborate systems let security personnel monitor games in different areas at the same time. Casinos can even hire a dedicated team of mathematicians and computer programmers to analyze and monitor game outcomes, so they can detect any statistical deviations from their expected results.

While a casino’s amenities, such as musical shows and lighted fountains, attract patrons, its real money comes from the billions of dollars in profits that it makes annually from games of chance. Every casino game has a built in mathematical advantage for the casino, which is often less than two percent. That advantage, along with a vig or rake, is how casinos make their money. This enables them to build the hotels, restaurants and other attractions that adorn their gambling venues.