What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment that offers games of chance. Its patrons may win or lose money, but the house always has a mathematical advantage. The house edge is calculated for individual games by computer programmers or gaming mathematicians hired by casinos. A casino is often located in a glamorous setting and offers sophisticated entertainment, dazzling restaurants, and luxurious rooms.

Gambling has been part of human culture for millennia. It has taken on many forms, from the casual game of dice with a friend to the elaborate table games at the Monte-Carlo. In the United States, the term casino generally refers to a large hotel-resort offering traditional table games like blackjack and roulette. Other types of casino gaming include poker and sports betting.

Casinos earn billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors, and Native American tribes that own them. They also provide a significant source of revenue for state and local governments. Because large amounts of cash are handled in casinos, they are attractive targets for criminals. Consequently, most modern casinos have extensive security measures.

Casinos usually employ a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department. The former patrols the casino and responds to calls for assistance or alleged criminal activity. The latter operates the casino’s closed circuit television system, which is known as “the eye in the sky.” Both departments work closely together to prevent crime. In addition to security personnel, casinos employ people who oversee the operations of their games of chance.