A casino is a gambling establishment where various types of chance games are played. These include card games like blackjack and poker, dice games like craps and roulette, and other games of chance. Casinos can have a variety of other attractions and distractions, such as lighted fountains and stage shows, but the vast majority of their profits come from gambling.
As a business, casinos have a built-in mathematical advantage that ensures they will win money over the long run. This house edge is small—typically less than two percent of total bets made—but over billions of wagers it adds up. Casinos use a variety of tools to make sure this advantage does not erode too much, and they offer extravagant inducements to big bettors to keep them playing. These can include free spectacular entertainment, luxury transportation and elegant living quarters.
Security is another major focus of a casino. Something about gambling (perhaps the presence of large sums of money) seems to encourage cheating and stealing, and casinos have spent a great deal of time and energy trying to prevent these activities. Security measures can be as simple as a watchful eye from the casino floor, and they can be as sophisticated as a room filled with banks of monitors that provide a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” view of the casino floor and its patrons.
The casino has a long and interesting history. In the past, it was often a private club for high society, and its doors were open only to those with sufficient wealth to qualify. But casinos also grew to be massive tourist attractions, with lavish hotels, restaurants and non-gambling games that appealed to the whole family.