What Is a Casino?

A casino is a facility where people play games of chance or skill. Almost all casinos feature table games like blackjack, roulette and craps, but some offer other types of gambling as well. Generally, most games give the casino an advantage over the gamblers, which is called the house edge. In addition to gambling, casinos also serve food and drinks, which are often free for regular customers.

The most famous casino in the world is probably the Bellagio in Las Vegas, which has appeared in many movies and has become a symbol of glamour and excess. However, there are many other casinos that are just as impressive, including the Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco, the Casino Lisboa in Lisbon and the elegant spa town of Baden-Baden in Germany.

In the twentieth century casinos have dramatically increased their use of technology to monitor and supervise gaming tables and machines. In one example, “chip tracking” enables the casinos to oversee the exact amount of each wager minute by minute, and to quickly discover any statistical deviation from expected results. Roulette wheels are wired to be monitored electronically, and slot machines regularly undergo a “sweep” to detect any anomalies.

A survey conducted by the American Gaming Association in March 2002 found that 66 percent of all casino gambling participants chose to play slot machines, with card games (such as blackjack and poker) second at 30 percent, and other games (including keno, bingo and sports/racing betting) third at about 10 percent. Roulette, which appeals to big bettors, is the second most popular game at European casinos, where the house edge is reduced to less than 1 percent.