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What Is a Casino?

What Is a Casino?


A Casino is a place where games of chance are played and gambling is the primary activity. While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers help attract patrons, casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars in profits generated by games of chance such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno, and baccarat.

Most games in a casino have some built-in advantage for the house, known as the house edge or expected value. This is even true of games like poker that allow players to play against each other, and the casino makes a profit by taking a percentage of every pot or charging an hourly fee to players.

While the house advantage may be small, it can add up over the millions of bets placed each year by casino patrons. The result is that, over time, the casino makes enough money to build extravagant hotels, giant pyramids and towers, and to adorn its premises with a variety of monuments to itself and to popular culture.

To make sure they keep winning, casinos also employ a variety of technologies to oversee the games and find any statistical deviation from their expected values. These include video cameras that watch players at table games, chips with built-in microcircuitry that interact with electronic systems to enable casinos to monitor the exact amounts wagered minute by minute, and roulette wheels that are electronically monitored to discover any anomalies that might occur. Despite the many benefits of gambling, it also has costs: studies indicate that people who are addicted to casino gambling generate a large proportion of casino profits, while the cost of treating compulsive gamblers erodes whatever economic gains the casino might bring to a local community.