What Is a Casino?


A casino is a type of establishment where different games of chance are played with the assistance of special equipment and trained personnel. Some casinos are also used for socializing, and others offer dining and entertainment.

In the United States, there are over 1,000 casinos and many more are under construction. They are a popular form of entertainment, and have taken in billions of dollars for the companies, corporations, investors and Native American tribes that own and operate them.

The main game of choice in casinos is slot machines. The machine uses on-board computer chips to determine payouts based on varying bands of colored shapes. If the right pattern appears, the player wins a predetermined amount of money.

Security is a major issue in casinos. There are elaborate surveillance systems that watch every table, change windows and doorways, adjust camera angles to focus on suspicious patrons, and record video feeds. The casino can review these tapes to catch cheaters or people who commit crimes in the casino.

Casinos make their money by taking a percentage of all bets placed on casino games. That percentage is called the house edge, and it is calculated by mathematicians and gaming analysts. It is a very small advantage, but it is enough to earn casinos millions of dollars each year and build the hotels, fountains, pyramids and other attractions that are so common in today’s casinos.

Despite these efforts, casino gambling can be addictive and destructive to local communities. Studies have shown that five percent of casino patrons are addicted, and this group generates 25 percent of a casino’s profits [Source: PBS]. Gambling addicts cost casinos and local communities time and resources that could be better spent on other forms of entertainment.