What is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people gamble by playing games of chance, and in some cases with some skill. The games have mathematically determined odds that give the house an advantage over the players, called the house edge. Casinos usually earn money from patrons who lose, or a commission in games such as poker where the casino takes a percentage of the pot, known as rake. Modern casinos add a host of luxuries such as stage shows, restaurants and free drinks to lure customers. Originally, the term meant simply a public hall for music and dancing. But the word soon came to mean a place where gambling was allowed.

A modern casino is typically staffed with a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department. The security personnel patrol the casino floor and respond to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. The specialized surveillance department operates a closed circuit television system known as the eye in the sky, which monitors all tables and game changes through cameras mounted in the ceiling.

In the United States, casinos began to appear on Native American reservations in the 1980s. By the 1990s, they were beginning to appear in Atlantic City and some other American cities. They are also often found in European countries that legalized gambling in the latter part of the 20th century, and on some American Indian reservations that were exempt from state antigambling laws.