What Is a Casino?



A casino is a gambling establishment offering a variety of games of chance and skill. In some games, the player competes against the house, while in others he or she gambles against other players. The house always has a mathematical advantage over the players. This advantage is known as the house edge or, in a game such as poker, the rake. Casinos often give free goods or services to gamblers, which are called comps. These are usually based on how much the gambler wagers and for how long.

Some casinos offer a wide variety of gaming choices, including traditional casino games like blackjack and roulette as well as video poker and other electronic games. They also often feature far eastern games such as sic bo (which spread to several American and European casinos during the 1990s), fan-tan, and pai gow. Many casinos also have restaurants, bars, and other entertainment options.

Security is a big concern for casino operators. They must keep an eye on gamblers to make sure they aren’t cheating, and they also must ensure that their employees are not stealing from the tables. Casinos often have a number of cameras in their buildings and may have special rooms where the games are played that are isolated from the main gambling floor.

Most people who visit casinos are tourists, and they tend to be older and wealthier than the general population. In 2005, the average casino visitor was a forty-six-year-old female from a household with above-average income. She had spent an average of eight hours gambling in the previous twelve months.