A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It also may refer to a gambling house or a building that contains one or more of these establishments. Casinos are most commonly associated with gambling games like poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, and baccarat, and to the establishments where these games are played. However, they are also known for other forms of entertainment, such as musical shows and shopping centers.
A modern casino is a complex enterprise. Its operations are regulated by government statute and industry self-regulation. The industry is also characterized by high levels of profitability. Large casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and other entertainment facilities. Smaller casinos may be stand-alone.
The games played in a casino are based on chance, with the exception of some skill-based games such as poker. Most of these games have built-in advantages for the house that ensure its gross profit. This advantage, which is mathematically determined, is called the house edge. In games such as poker where players play against each other, the house makes its profit by taking a percentage of the pot or charging an hourly fee.
Casino security begins on the casino floor, where employees keep an eye on patrons to make sure that everything is going as it should. In addition, elaborate surveillance systems offer a high-tech “eye in the sky” that can track every move and tell whether a patron is cheating or making suspicious bets.