What Is a Casino?



A casino, or gaming house, is a place where people can take part in gambling. Some casinos specialize in certain types of games, such as blackjack, roulette, baccarat, craps, and video poker. Others offer a wide range of games and services, such as restaurants, hotel rooms, shopping centers, and even stage shows.

Many of the world’s most famous casinos have been built in spectacular locations. Perhaps the most iconic is the Bellagio in Las Vegas, whose dancing fountains and sophisticated d├ęcor have made it popular with high-end gamblers. It was also the setting for the hit movie Ocean’s 11.

The defining feature of modern casino architecture is the large glass walls that allow surveillance personnel to monitor activities on the gaming floor, sometimes through one-way mirrors. This technology helps the casino keep its edge over patrons, by quickly discovering statistical deviations from expected results. Casinos also employ special chips with microcircuitry to track bets minute by minute. Other technologies enable a casino to “scan” the outcome of dice rolls or roulette wheels to discover irregularities that might otherwise go undetected.

While a casino may add entertainment elements to attract customers, the most important aspect is its gambling offerings. Slot machines, table games, and the like provide a chance for customers to win money or prizes, and casinos make profits by taking a small percentage of all bets placed. The casinos also earn revenue by giving free goods and services to “frequent” players, such as food, drinks, hotel rooms, and limo or airline tickets.