What Is a Casino?
A casino is an establishment where people can gamble on games of chance. Some casinos specialize in certain games, such as blackjack, baccarat, or poker. Others offer a wide variety of games, including slots and video poker. Some casinos also offer a variety of other entertainment options, such as live music and shows. In the United States, casinos are most common in Nevada and Atlantic City. They are also found in some other states, such as Iowa and New Jersey.
Gambling in some form is believed to have existed throughout much of human history. Historical records of gambling exist from ancient Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome to Napoleonic France and Elizabethan England.
Regardless of how much skill may be involved in some gambling games, all casino games have a built-in advantage for the house. This advantage, which is mathematically determined and sometimes called the “house edge,” ensures that the casino will eventually make money from its patrons. This profit is often used to fund extravagant casino decorations, such as fountains, towers and replicas of famous landmarks. It is also used to pay employees and cover overhead expenses.
Because so many large amounts of money are handled within a casino, there is always the possibility that patrons or employees will cheat or steal in collusion or independently. This is why most casinos have significant security measures in place. These include video cameras that monitor game play, pit bosses and table managers who oversee the tables with a broader view and can quickly discover any anomaly; chips with microcircuitry that allow casinos to track betting patterns minute by minute; and roulette wheels that are electronically monitored to detect any statistical deviation from their expected results.