What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It is sometimes combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and cruise ships. A casino may also feature live entertainment. The precise origin of gambling is unknown, but it is generally believed to have evolved from games involving dice or cards.

Modern casinos have a wide variety of games, including dice, card games such as blackjack and poker, and slot machines. Some have a progressive jackpot, which increases with each bet made until someone wins it. Other games have a house edge, which is the casino’s profit margin over the players’ expected value. This advantage can be very small, but it accumulates over time, and is known as the vig or rake. In games such as poker where players play against each other, the casino profits from taking a percentage of each pot or charging an hourly fee. The casino also encourages patrons to gamble by offering complimentary items or comps.

Casinos have strict security measures in place to protect their customers and assets. They use a combination of physical security forces and specialized surveillance departments to patrol the premises and respond to reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. Security cameras are often located throughout the casino and are commonly referred to as the eye in the sky.

In 2005, the average casino patron was a forty-six-year-old female from a household with above-average income. Families with children constituted the second largest group of casino visitors.