What is a Casino?


A casino is a building where people can gamble and play games of chance. They can also offer hotel rooms, restaurants, non-gambling game rooms, and bars.

Gambling is legal in several states, but casinos can only operate within the boundaries of a specific state. In Nevada, casinos were first allowed to open in 1931. It took forty-seven years before a second state, New Jersey, decided to allow gambling at its casinos.

Security in a Casino

Modern casinos have both a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department that operates the casino’s closed circuit television system, known as an “eye in the sky.” Both departments work very closely with each other to ensure the safety of players, employees and the casino itself.

Games in a Casino

Some casino games are more popular than others. Among the most popular are roulette, baccarat, and blackjack. In Europe, baccarat is more common than roulette, while blackjack is more popular in the United States.

A House Edge and Variance

A casino has a built-in advantage for every game they offer, giving them a mathematical expectancy of winning that keeps them from losing money on their customers’ bets. This advantage is called the “house edge” or “vig.”

Often, this advantage makes up a significant portion of the total profit a casino earns. This allows the casino to pay for extravagant inducements, such as free transportation, hotel rooms and entertainment for high-stakes gamblers.

Mobsters used to control much of the gambling in Reno and Las Vegas, but the federal crackdown and possible loss of a casino’s license at even the slightest hint of Mafia involvement kept them away from most legitimate casino businesses. Today, real estate investors and hotel chains like Hilton and Trump have taken over most of the casinos that were once controlled by mobsters.