What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. The term is derived from the Latin cazino, meaning “gambling house.” In the United States, casinos are often combined with hotels and resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and entertainment venues. Some casinos are world-famous and attract tourists from all over the world, while others are hidden away in small towns and cities.

In addition to their gambling games, casinos are known for their high-tech surveillance systems. These can be as simple as a bank of monitors in a room full of security workers, or as sophisticated as an “eye-in-the-sky” system that can track all the tables in a room at once, alerting staff when something looks out of place.

Many casinos also offer comps (complimentary) to their patrons, which encourage them to return and spend more money. These may include free rooms, meals, drinks or show tickets. More expensive comps are reserved for the most frequent and high-spenders. To manage these programs, casinos employ specialized mathematicians and computer programmers called gaming analysts.

Despite their flashy exteriors and elaborate themes, casinos would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, poker, roulette and other table games provide the billions of dollars in profits that casino owners rake in each year. These games are often played with chips that have built-in microcircuitry that enable the casinos to monitor the exact amount of money wagered minute by minute, and to detect any statistical deviation from expected results.

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