What Is a Casino?
Casino, a gambling establishment featuring games of chance, draws in billions of dollars each year. While musical shows, shopping centers, lighted fountains, and lavish hotels help draw in the crowds, casinos would not exist without their primary attraction: games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and craps contribute to the vast majority of the profits that casinos generate each year.
While the precise origins of gambling are not known, it is widely believed to have existed in nearly every culture throughout history. Today, casinos are largely found in the United States and Europe. Some also operate on cruise ships and in Native American nations. Casinos range in size from massive resort casinos to small card rooms.
There are two basic ways that casinos make money: they collect a percentage of the winnings or they charge a fee for access to certain games. The latter option is called “comping.” Many casinos offer club cards that function much like airline frequent-flyer programs. Patrons swipe the card before they play, and the casino tallys up points that can be exchanged for free or discounted food, drinks, and tickets to shows and other events.
Modern casinos often employ an elaborate surveillance system, which is sometimes referred to as the “eye-in-the-sky.” This allows security personnel to watch all areas of the casino from one room filled with banks of security monitors. In addition, table managers and pit bosses regularly check the betting patterns of their patrons to detect cheating.