What is a Casino?


A casino is a building where people can gamble by playing games of chance and in some cases by using skill. There are also some casinos which add a great deal of luxury to the gambling experience; these are called resort casinos.

Many people like to visit casinos, whether or not they are regular gamblers. Some of the casinos have a very high-class and expensive design; the elegant spa town of Baden-Baden, for example, was a popular destination for European royalty and aristocracy 150 years ago and still has some of the most extravagantly outfitted gambling establishments in the world.

There is one thing that all casino patrons must realize, however; the house has a built-in advantage in every game. It may take a long time for a player to win a large amount, but the house is almost always guaranteed a substantial gross profit. This mathematically determined advantage is often called the house edge or the expected value.

Casinos make heavy use of technology to supervise their operations. For example, many table games have special chips with microcircuitry that interact with electronic systems at the tables; this allows the casinos to oversee exactly how much is wagered minute by minute and warn employees of any anomaly. In addition, roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover statistical deviations quickly. The economic mainstays of modern American casinos are slot machines and (since the 1980s) video poker; these generate huge sums of money through the rapid play of small amounts for short periods.