What is a Casino?

A casino is a building that houses gambling activities. Its popularity stems from its ability to attract large numbers of people from all over the world, offering them a variety of gambling options, including slot machines and table games like poker and blackjack. It also offers other entertainment, such as musical shows and lighted fountains. Casinos are owned by private corporations, investors, and Native American tribes. Some are integrated into hotels, resorts, or other venues; others stand alone.

Most casino gambling takes place on a table. Popular table games include card games, dice games, and wheel games such as roulette. The games are played against a dealer, who manages the game. In the past, casinos enticed gamblers by offering free spectacular entertainment and heavily discounted travel packages. Today, they rely on technology to monitor games and to ensure their fairness. Computers track betting chips with built-in microcircuitry, so that casinos can oversee the exact amounts wagered minute by minute; electronic systems on roulette wheels allow them to quickly discover any statistical deviation from their expected results. Security cameras monitor the casino floor through one-way mirrors mounted on the ceiling.

Although the games of chance provide the majority of a casino’s profits, they are not without risk to the patron. To reduce this risk, casinos offer a variety of incentives to encourage gamblers to play. These perks, known as comps, include reduced-fare transportation and hotel rooms, free drinks and cigars while gambling, and more. High-stakes gamblers are often given even more luxurious inducements, such as personal attendants and luxury suites.