What Is a Casino?

A casino is a facility where patrons gamble by playing games of chance or skill, and in some cases both. Customers play for cash or casino chips and the house collects a percentage of all bets made, or “the rake.” Casinos may also host non-gambling entertainment activities such as shows and dining events.

In the beginning, the largest casinos were in Las Vegas and Atlantic City in the United States, but they soon spread to other cities and countries that legalized gambling. Many American Indian tribes operate casinos on their reservations, and these are often not subject to state anti-gambling laws. Some European countries have legalized some form of casino gaming as well, particularly France, which has the highest number of casinos in Europe.

Despite the large amounts of money handled by casino employees and patrons, casinos are vulnerable to fraud and theft. Because of this, security is a huge focus within casino operations. Elaborate surveillance systems offer a high-tech eye-in-the-sky that allows security workers to monitor all casino tables and windows at once, detecting any suspicious activity. In addition, casino games often have predictable patterns that can make it easy for security personnel to spot irregularities.

Players who regularly place large bets or spend a lot of time at slot machines are sometimes comped by the casino. This is usually in the form of free food, drinks or hotel rooms. In some cases, the casino may even provide limo service and airline tickets for big-spending patrons.