What Is a Casino?

When most people think of a Casino they picture one of the megaresorts in Las Vegas, a massive hotel and entertainment complex pulsing with neon lights and gambling action. But casinos come in all shapes and sizes. Some are small businesses defined more by the type of gambling they offer than by glitz or glamour.

In the past many American states had laws against casinos, but in the 1970s and 1980s many of them amended those statutes to allow casinos on Indian reservations. In addition, they began to pop up on the Atlantic Coast and in various other locales around the world.

Casinos make money by introducing an element of chance into games of skill, and then charging patrons for the privilege of playing them. Every game has a built in advantage for the casino; the amount of this edge can be very low, lower than two percent, but over millions of bets it adds up to a substantial sum that enables the casino to build fancy hotels, fountains, towers and replicas of landmarks.

A casino’s security measures include cameras and other technical surveillance devices, and also rules of behavior for gamblers. In addition, the routines of casino games and the expected reactions and motions of players follow certain patterns, making it easier for security personnel to spot deviations from these patterns. Because large amounts of money are handled, casinos may be a target for theft by both patrons and staff.