What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment that offers chances to win money by playing games of chance or skill. Most games have a house edge, which means that the casino is expected to lose money on them over time. A casino also earns money by charging fees to gamblers, such as a rake in poker or a commission on the amount of winnings at slot machines. In addition, casinos offer perks to their patrons to encourage them to spend more. These perks are called comps.

In the United States, casino gambling was first legalized in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1978. Since then, many American states have amended their laws to allow for casinos, including those on Indian reservations that are exempt from state antigambling laws. In the 1980s, several casino-like gaming facilities were established in Puerto Rico and on various American military bases.

Today, casino gamblers are more discerning than ever. They demand the highest possible levels of service and comfort, from free drinks to elegant living quarters. In the 1990s, casinos began to use technology to monitor their operations. For example, betting chips with built-in microcircuitry allow them to monitor the exact amounts of money wagered minute by minute and to quickly discover any statistical deviations from expectations.

Casinos are also known for their live entertainment. They have hosted such legendary performers as Frank Sinatra at Caesars Circus Maximus Showroom in the 1960s, and they continue to draw luminaries to their properties such as Celine Dion, Elton John, Cher, Mariah Carey, Rod Stewart, and Van Morrison.