What Is a Casino?


A casino, also known as a gaming establishment or a gambling hall, is a place where people can play a variety of gambling games. The casino’s owner makes money by charging a “vig” or a percentage of each bet made by patrons. Most casinos are regulated by law and operate as independent businesses. In the United States, casinos are usually located in cities with large populations and are often called hotel-casinos or resorts.

Although casino entertainment such as musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers help draw in crowds, casinos exist for one reason: to profit from gambling. Slot machines, poker, blackjack and other card games provide the billions of dollars in profits that casinos rake in each year.

To maximize their profits, casinos offer a wide array of incentives to gamblers. They give free hotel rooms and food to players who “gamble enough.” They also offer tickets to shows and limo service to the biggest spenders. These rewards are based on how much a player spends and how long he or she gambles. Ask a casino employee or someone at the information desk for details.

Because of the large amounts of currency handled within a casino, both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with each other or independently. To counteract this, casinos invest heavily in security. Cameras that cover the entire facility are a staple, but they also use sophisticated electronic eye-in-the-sky systems to watch individual tables or even single machines.