A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games. These include table games such as blackjack, roulette, baccarat and craps; video poker machines; and keno and pari-mutuel betting on horse races and other events. In addition, some casinos have top-rated hotels and restaurants, spas, and live entertainment.
A casino may also offer complimentary goods or services to players, known as comps. The amount of these freebies depends on the level of play and can include items such as meals, hotel rooms, tickets to shows, or even limo service and airline tickets. Comps are an important source of revenue for many casinos.
In 2005, 24% of Americans reported visiting a casino. The average gambler was a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with an above-average income. This group made up the majority of casino visitors in 2005, according to Roper Reports GfK NOP and the U.S. Gaming Panel by TNS.
Some casino games require skill, but most are games of chance. The house always has an advantage over the players, referred to as the “house edge.” This advantage is mathematically determined by the odds of each game, and can be reduced with basic strategy or by card counting. Casinos also earn money from games such as poker, in which the house collects a commission, or rake, from each player. These earnings are sometimes used to pay out winnings to players. Casinos may use technology to monitor and supervise their games. For example, some table games use chips with built-in microcircuitry to allow the casino to oversee the exact amounts wagered minute by minute, and to warn players of any anomalies.