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What is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people gamble on games of chance or skill, or sometimes both. There are many types of casino games, but all have the same basic structure: a game is conducted by a dealer, players place bets, and winnings are paid out in accordance with the odds of each individual outcome. Casinos are also a major source of income for many governments and are heavily regulated in most jurisdictions.

Most casinos are characterized by bright lights, flashing machines and loud music. Some have fountains, towers and replicas of famous landmarks, or even entire cityscapes. Casinos make money by ensuring that their games have a built-in advantage for the house, which can be as low as two percent. This edge, or vig, is the casino’s profit margin. The casino may also give out free goods or services to regular patrons, known as comps, depending on how much they spend or how long they play.

Something about gambling (probably the presence of large amounts of cash) encourages cheating and stealing, either in collusion or independently. Therefore, casinos spend a great deal of time and money on security measures. Some casinos employ specially trained staff, while others use technologically advanced systems to supervise their operations. For example, in some games, betting chips with built-in microcircuitry are used to monitor the exact amount wagered minute by minute; roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any statistical deviation from their expected results; and in table games such as blackjack, a computer algorithm oversees the dealing of cards and alerts dealers when an unfair advantage is being taken.