What Is a Casino?

A casino is a public place where a variety of games of chance can be played and where gambling is the main activity. In addition to food, drinks and stage shows, most casinos feature elaborate decorations and structures designed to entice players to gamble.

There is one thing all casino games have in common: the house edge, a built-in advantage for the casino that can range from less than two percent to more than 20 percent. This is how a casino makes money, and it allows the owners to spend millions on fountains, statues, towers and replicas of famous landmarks.

Casinos were first introduced to America when Nevada legalized them, followed by Atlantic City and New Jersey. Later, American Indian reservations were opened to casino gambling, and casinos began appearing on riverboats and in many other parts of the country.

Something about gambling seems to encourage people to cheat, steal and scam their way into a jackpot. That’s why casinos invest a lot of time, effort and money on security.

Security begins on the casino floor, where employees keep an eye on patrons to make sure everything goes as it should. Dealers are especially trained to spot blatant cheating, such as palming or marking cards and dice. And table managers and pit bosses have a wider view of the tables, looking for betting patterns that could indicate cheating. All of these workers have “higher ups” watching them, and they’re rewarded with free hotel rooms, meals and show tickets if they can attract high-spending players.