What Is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people gamble by playing games of chance or skill. Many casinos are known for their lavish architectural style, celebrity entertainment and glitzy surroundings. Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, for example, is famous for its Roman theme and long list of stars who have appeared on its stage, including Frank Sinatra and Liberace.

Casinos are usually heavily guarded, with security personnel roaming the premises keeping an eye on patrons and watching for blatant cheating or suspicious behavior. The layout of a casino helps its staff keep an eye on things, with tables and machines set up in a way that makes it easy for security personnel to monitor the action. Casino employees also follow patterns, with dealers shuffle and deal cards in expected ways and table managers and pit bosses monitoring betting habits to make sure players aren’t using secret strategies.

Casinos make money by charging a fee to players who wager on the games. This fee, which is a percentage of their winnings, is called the vig or rake. While this edge is very small (less than two percent) it adds up over time, earning casinos enough money to build spectacular hotels and fountains, towers and replicas of famous landmarks. Casinos also earn revenue by offering perks to big bettors in the form of free shows, hotel rooms and transportation. These incentives are called comps. Smaller bettors are offered reduced-fare hotel rooms and meals, drinks and cigarettes while gambling.

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