What is a Casino?

A casino (or kasino, Spanish for gambling house) is an establishment that offers various types of gambling. Casinos are often built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops and other entertainment attractions.

You may have noticed that you never play with real cash in a casino, instead you will use casino chips. This is by design; it psychologically makes you think you aren’t gambling with your own money and it helps the casino keep track of how much you spend. It also makes it much harder to steal because you are carrying around a small bag of plastic chips rather than a wallet full of bills.

In addition, casinos are constantly on the lookout for theft and cheating. Most games have slim margins, so the smallest deviation from expected results can make or break their bottom line. Many casinos even monitor the betting patterns of their patrons to detect any illegitimate activity. Almost every table game has an employee in charge of watching for any suspicious behavior and each employee has a “higher-up” who tracks their performance.

The casino’s financial mainstay is what is known as the “handle.” This is calculated by combining the total amount of money bet at each gaming device and the average amount of time that device was used. The higher the handle, the more profit the casino makes. To maximize their handle, a casino will offer big bettors extravagant inducements such as free shows, rooms, transportation and limo service.