What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment with a variety of gaming tables and machines. The most famous casinos are found in Las Vegas and Monte Carlo, but they also exist outside of the United States. Some are large and luxurious, resembling the glitzy megaresorts of Las Vegas, while others are small businesses defined more by type of gambling than by size or ambiance.

A key feature of modern casinos is the emphasis on security. Patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently; therefore, casinos employ several mechanisms to prevent such behavior. The most common is a physical security force, patrolling the premises and responding to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious activity. Most casinos also have a specialized surveillance department, using closed circuit television to monitor the casino environment and identify players who violate rules of conduct.

Gambling games are typically divided into three categories: gaming machines, table games, and random number games. Gaming machines, such as slot machines, are played by one player at a time and do not require the involvement of casino employees. Table games, such as blackjack and craps, involve interaction with other players or the house and are conducted by croupiers (dealers). Random number games, such as poker, draw cards, or roulette wheels, are played with chips that have been assigned a value according to a predetermined system.

Many casinos offer perks to encourage gambling and reward high spenders. Those perks, known as comps, often include free or discounted food, drinks, hotel rooms, or shows. Casinos use these programs to develop a customer database and to track patron spending patterns.

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