What Is a Casino?

A casino, or gambling house, is a place where people can gamble at games of chance. The term may also be used to refer to an establishment that offers other forms of entertainment, such as stage shows and dining. Some casinos are located in cities or resorts. Other casinos are built in or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. A number of cities have ordinances regulating the type and amount of gambling allowed in casinos.

Although gambling is a game of chance, there is some skill involved in playing many of the games. For example, players must decide when to take a risk and when to walk away. The odds of winning or losing are determined by mathematically calculated probabilities. In most cases the house has an advantage over the player, which is known as the house edge or expected value. The house edge is especially high in games of pure chance, such as roulette or craps. In games where players compete against each other, such as poker, the house makes its profit through a fee called rake.

In addition to standard security measures, many casinos employ elaborate surveillance systems. For example, casino floors are typically designed without windows and clocks because it is believed that these decorations encourage players to lose track of time. Some casinos even ban dealers from wearing watches for this reason. Video cameras in the ceiling provide a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” that can be directed to focus on certain suspicious patrons by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of monitors.