What is a Casino?

A casino, also known as a gaming house or a gambling house, is an establishment for gambling. It offers a variety of games of chance and, in some cases, skill, and is often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops and other tourist attractions.

Although casinos offer many luxuries to attract customers, such as stage shows and free drinks, the majority of their profits come from gambling. Table games like blackjack, roulette, baccarat and craps, as well as slot machines and video poker, bring in billions of dollars every year.

Casinos make money by taking advantage of the fact that nearly all games have a mathematically determined advantage for the house, or expected value, which is uniformly negative from the patron’s perspective. This edge can be relatively small (less than two percent) or much larger, depending on the game and the rules adopted. In the case of card games, the casino makes its profit by collecting a percentage of each pot or charging an hourly fee, the latter known as the rake. Casinos also earn a portion of the gross bets placed by large players, referred to as comps.

In addition to enticing gamblers with free entertainment, a variety of dining options and other amenities, casinos are often secured by elaborate security measures. Casino staffers keep an eye on the patrons to prevent cheating, and dealers are trained to detect blatant tactics such as palming, marking or switching cards or dice.