What is a Casino?

A casino is a place where people can bet money on various games of chance. While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels add to the casino’s allure, it is the billions of dollars that are won or lost by patrons in slot machines, blackjack, poker, roulette, craps and keno that provide the casino with its profits.

The word casino is derived from the Latin “caino”, which means “hazard.” However, it has come to be used as a synonym for a public gambling establishment. Many casinos also offer restaurants, non-gambling game rooms, swimming pools and other amenities to attract families.

Most casinos are built around the premise of making bets on games of chance. Every game has a built in mathematical advantage for the house, which earns the casino money over time. This edge is very small, often less than two percent, but over millions of bets, it makes a huge difference in the casino’s bottom line. This money is known as the vig or rake.

In order to maintain their edge, casinos must continually sift out cheaters and crooks. Security starts on the floor, where employees have a close-up view of patrons playing games to look for anything out of the ordinary. Pit bosses and table managers have a wider view of tables to watch for suspicious betting patterns. Elaborate surveillance systems allow staff to watch each game from a room filled with banks of security monitors.