What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance. Besides traditional table and card games, casinos also feature a variety of slot machines and video poker. The game selection varies from casino to casino, but some casinos specialize in certain games. For example, some offer only baccarat and roulette; others focus on Asian games such as sic bo and fan-tan. Casinos also offer comps to frequent players, ranging from free hotel rooms and meals to shows and even airline tickets.

A large part of a casino’s income comes from the profits from the games of chance it provides. The casino’s built-in advantage on all games can be small (less than two percent), but when added up over millions of bets it earns the casino considerable revenue. The resulting profit is known as the vig or rake.

In the early years of Las Vegas casino growth, organized crime figures provided a steady stream of money to the new businesses. Mafia money helped the casinos shed their seamy image and attract legitimate businessmen, as well.

Most modern casinos have a full-time security force and a specialized surveillance department. The latter operates the closed circuit television system known as the “eye-in-the-sky.” This network of cameras monitors the entire casino floor, and security workers can watch every table, window and doorway from a room filled with banks of security monitors. All the action is recorded on tape; if a crime or suspicious patron is observed, a security worker can instantly review the footage.