What Is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. Casinos are usually built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. In the United States, casinos are licensed and regulated by state law. Most casinos offer slot machines, table games, and card games such as blackjack, poker, and baccarat. Some casinos also offer sports betting and horse racing. The largest casinos in the world are located in Las Vegas, Nevada; Macau, China; and Singapore.

Something about the presence of large amounts of money seems to encourage cheating and stealing, and casinos devote a great deal of time, effort and money on security. In addition to cameras, casinos employ a variety of techniques designed to keep players from cheating or stealing, such as “chip tracking,” in which casino chips have a microcircuit that allows them to be tracked minute by minute and to warn of any statistical deviation; electronic surveillance systems in poker rooms monitor every move made by players and dealers.

Despite all the attention to security, a casino’s profitability depends on getting people to gamble there. That’s why casinos spend a lot of money on elaborate and expensive inducements. For example, big bettors are often given free spectacular entertainment, free or reduced-fare transportation and luxurious living quarters in the hotel. Less affluent bettors are given drinks, food and even free casino chips to get them to gamble.