What is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. The word is derived from the Latin cazino, which means “little house.” Casinos are often built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and cruise ships. Some states have legalized casinos, while others prohibit them or limit their operations. The largest casinos are found in Las Vegas, Nevada; Atlantic City, New Jersey; and Chicago. Many Native American tribes also operate casinos.

Unlike traditional gaming, in which patrons compete against each other, most casino games have a built-in advantage for the house. This edge, known as the house edge or mathematical expectancy of a game, ensures that the casino will eventually make a gross profit. It can be relatively small (lower than two percent) but, over time and millions of bets, it earns the casino enough money to finance everything from elaborate hotels to fountains, towers, and replicas of famous landmarks.

The modern casino is a complex enterprise, combining gambling with entertainment, food and beverage service, and retail goods. To maintain customer satisfaction and security, casinos have evolved into highly technical businesses. They use a variety of sophisticated security measures to detect cheating and theft by both patrons and employees. These include sophisticated video cameras that constantly monitor gambling areas, chips with built-in microcircuitry that interact with electronic systems in tables to oversee the exact amount of money wagered minute by minute, and electronically monitored roulette wheels that discover quickly any statistical deviation from expected results.

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