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What Is a Casino?

What Is a Casino?


A casino is a public place where a variety of games of chance can be played and gambling is the primary activity. While musical shows, lighted fountains, and lavish hotels help draw customers, casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars in profits that come from games of chance like roulette, blackjack, craps and video poker.

Each game of chance has a built in advantage for the casino, which can vary from very small to a couple of percent. This advantage is called the house edge. The casino makes a profit by taking this money from bettors in the form of vigorish or rake. Casinos also give out complimentary items or comps to patrons.

In modern casinos, computerized systems are used to monitor the games themselves and warn the staff if there is an abnormal statistical deviation from expected results. The chips in a table game may have built in microcircuitry that allows them to be monitored minute by minute; the roulette wheels are analyzed with special cameras and computers to discover any irregularities.

In addition to computerized monitoring, a casino may employ a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department. Casino security personnel usually patrol the casino floor, responding to calls for assistance and reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. Surveillance personnel can also look down, through one way glass from a catwalk above, on the activities at table and slot machines. In some casinos, this is known as the eye in the sky.