Casino, also known as a gaming house or gambling hall, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos offer a variety of games to their patrons and may also include dining, entertainment and shopping. Some casinos are operated by government-owned enterprises, while others are owned and operated by private enterprise. In the United States, a casino is typically located in a resort or a hotel.
The most popular casino games are blackjack, poker, craps and roulette. Some casinos also offer other card games, including baccarat (known as chemin de fer in the United Kingdom and trente et quarante in France), and Asian games such as sic bo, fan-tan and pai gow.
While lighted fountains, musical shows and lavish hotels help draw in the crowds, it’s the games of chance that drive the billions in profits casinos rake in each year. Players with sufficient skill to offset the inherent long-term disadvantage in a particular game are called advantage players.
Casinos have become increasingly sophisticated in their use of technology. Table managers and pit bosses have an eye to the floor for blatant cheating, and electronic surveillance systems can monitor the movement of chips in minute detail to catch even the slightest statistical deviation from expected results. Some casinos even employ casino mathematicians to analyze their data, determining things like the house edge and variance of their slot machines. This information helps casinos stay competitive and maximize their profits. However, some economists argue that the cost of treating problem gamblers and the lost productivity associated with compulsive gambling can reverse any economic gains a casino might generate for a local community.