What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment. Some casinos also have restaurants and other facilities for entertainment, such as bars and nightclubs. Most casino games are based on chance, although some have a skill element. Some casinos specialize in a particular type of game, such as blackjack or poker. Casinos are a major source of revenue for some states and regions.

Casinos usually employ a combination of physical security forces and specialized surveillance departments. These departments monitor the casino’s closed circuit television systems and respond to calls for assistance or reports of definite criminal activity.

Modern casinos are designed to be as comfortable as possible for their patrons. They have carpeted walkways and soft lighting, and their colors are often warm and inviting. Unlike most businesses, which are clad in stark neutrals to reduce the appearance of clutter, casinos decorate with bright and sometimes gaudy colors and use patterns to make people feel cheery. They also feature large windows to let in sunlight and a general atmosphere of relaxation. Often, there are no clocks on the walls because gamblers tend to lose track of time.

In 2005, the average casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old female from a household with an above-average income. The number of people who gamble in casinos has risen significantly since 1989. In 2004, about one in four American adults visited a casino, according to the Roper Reports GfK NOP and the U.S. Gaming Panel by TNS. Most of these people were women, and many had college educations.

The average casino makes money by offering a variety of betting opportunities, including craps, roulette, baccarat, and blackjack. They also offer video poker and other machines that earn money through high-volume play at sums ranging from five cents to a dollar. Casinos may also generate revenue by charging a commission on the amount of money played by players at certain table games, a practice known as raking.

A casino’s financial success depends on the house edge of its games, which is determined mathematically. The house edge is the house’s expected profit per game, taking into account the frequency of winning and losing bets. This figure is calculated by computer programs, and professionals in this field are called gaming mathematicians and analysts.

In the United States, most casinos are found in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. They also appear on American Indian reservations and are sometimes located aboard cruise ships or riverboats. Some casinos also operate in other countries, such as the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Brazil and the Venetian Macau in China.

Casinos generally have a positive impact on the local economy, but critics say that their revenue shifts spending away from other forms of local entertainment and that the cost of treating compulsive gamblers offsets any economic gains. Casinos also are responsible for a significant amount of tax revenue in the communities where they operate. Some communities have voted to limit the number of casinos they can have, while others have banned them completely.