What Is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Large casinos often feature hotels, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues. Some places are known primarily for their casinos, such as Monte Carlo and Atlantic City in the United States or Macau in China. Casinos may also be known for hosting live entertainment and sporting events such as boxing and football matches.

While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers might help draw in the crowds, the billions of dollars in profits raked in every year by casinos would not exist without games of chance like slot machines, blackjack, poker, craps, keno and baccarat. These games have been around for millennia, with archeological evidence of dice-rolling going back as far as 2300 BC.

Something about gambling (perhaps the presence of large amounts of money) seems to encourage cheating and stealing, and that’s why casinos spend so much time, effort and money on security. On the floor, dealers keep their eyes on patrons to spot blatant cheating such as palming or marking cards; table managers and pit bosses have a broader view and can check for betting patterns that might indicate collusion. Casinos also have a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky”: cameras mounted in the ceiling that can be directed to watch specific patrons or areas through one-way glass.

In some casinos, especially those in the US, Asian and European cities, gamblers can also place bets on traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo, fan-tan and pai gow. These games usually require a minimum bet and are sometimes combined with other entertainment such as stage shows or sports betting.