What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment offering a wide variety of games. In addition to slot machines and table games, casinos often feature dining options and entertainment. Many people are familiar with Las Vegas and Atlantic City, but casinos have also become common in other locations. They are particularly popular on American Indian reservations, where they are exempt from state antigambling laws.

Casinos are characterized by high-tech surveillance and security systems that make it difficult for gamblers to cheat. They also rely on patterns of play to identify irregular behavior. For example, the amount of money wagered on a particular machine may be monitored minute by minute; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored to detect any deviation from their expected results.

Despite the prevalence of technology, casino patrons may still try to cheat and steal. These attempts are typically unsuccessful, but the large amounts of cash handled in a casino encourage both patrons and staff to attempt them. To counter these risks, casinos spend a great deal of time and money on security measures.

In the twentieth century, casinos became choosier about whom they accepted as patrons. They sought out “high rollers,” who made larger bets than the average gambler and who therefore generated a higher profit for the casino. To attract such players, casinos offered lavish inducements, such as free spectacular entertainment and luxury accommodations. These rewards were intended to ensure that high rollers would return to the casino, rather than going to another competitor.