What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance for its patrons. The most common games are card games, dice games, and slots. In addition to these games, some casinos offer a wide selection of live entertainment, top-notch hotels and spas, and fine dining. Casinos go to great lengths to lure in customers and keep them gambling for as long as possible. They spend millions of dollars determining what sights, sounds and scents are most appealing to gamblers.

Security is another big concern for casino owners. They have sophisticated systems of surveillance that provide a high-tech eye-in-the-sky view of every table, window, and doorway in the building. These cameras are monitored by security personnel in a room filled with banks of monitors. In addition to the cameras, security employees patrol the floor, watching for suspicious patrons and catching blatant cheating techniques such as palming or marking cards.

In the early days of Las Vegas, mobsters provided much of the capital that built many of its first casinos. The mob had plenty of cash from extortion, drug dealing and other illegal rackets, and it was not afraid to put its money where its mouth was. Mob figures took sole or partial ownership of some casinos and influenced the outcomes of games with their financial backing and threats to casino employees.

Today, most casinos are legal and regulated. They accept bets of any size within an established limit and have mathematically determined odds that ensure that they will make a profit over time. They also offer free spectacular entertainment, reduced-fare transportation and elegant living quarters to attract and retain large bettors.