What is a Casino?

Casino — a large building or room in which gambling games are played. Casinos may include table games such as blackjack, poker, and roulette as well as slot machines and video poker. They are found worldwide, with the greatest concentration in Las Vegas and other cities with gambling licenses. Casinos earn billions of dollars annually for the companies, investors and Native American tribes that own them. They also generate considerable revenue for state and local governments through taxes, fees and other payments.

Most casino games have built-in advantages for the house, which ensures that it will win in the long run. These advantages can be small, less than two percent, but they add up over the millions of bets that are placed each day. This house edge is called the vig or rake.

In the 1990s casinos increased their use of technology to oversee and monitor games. For example, betting chips with built-in microcircuitry enable casinos to oversee minute-by-minute wagers and to discover any deviation from expected results; likewise, roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any statistical irregularity. Video cameras are also used, providing a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” that can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons.

Something about gambling seems to encourage people to cheat and steal, which is why casino owners invest a lot of money and effort on security. In addition to employing thousands of people in security roles, casinos have elaborate surveillance systems, including a network of cameras that can be viewed from a control room in the ceiling.