What Is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Modern casinos, especially those featuring card games such as blackjack and poker, are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and other entertainment facilities. In the United States, casinos are licensed and regulated by state governments. The large amounts of money handled within casinos make them susceptible to cheating and theft by patrons and employees, either in collusion or independently. To combat these problems, casinos use a variety of security measures, the most basic of which are video cameras placed throughout the facility.

A successful casino can bring in billions of dollars each year, benefiting the companies, investors, and Native American tribes that own and operate them. The casinos themselves generate revenue through wagering on their various games of chance, and they may also collect taxes and other fees from their customers.

To maximize profits, casinos must be able to accurately predict the expected return on investment for each game they offer. This is accomplished by determining the house edge and variance for each game, a process done by mathematicians and computer programmers called gaming analysts. In addition, a casino must be able to quickly identify any statistical deviations from expected results in order to alert its personnel and correct the problem. Casinos also focus on customer service and offer perks such as complimentary items, or comps, to encourage gamblers to spend more. For example, during the 1970s, Las Vegas casinos enticed high rollers by offering them free hotel rooms and transportation, discounted meals, and free show tickets.