What Is a Casino?


A casino, or gambling establishment, is a building or room where games of chance are played. The modern casino is a large, elaborate entertainment complex with restaurants, hotels, a shopping center and other luxury amenities, but the overwhelming majority of its profits are derived from gambling. Casinos are primarily located in Europe and North America, though there are a few in Asia, particularly on American Indian reservations, which are not subject to state antigambling laws.

There is a lot of money in casinos, so security is very important. Casinos employ a variety of techniques to keep the place safe, including video cameras, specialized lighting and heavily trained employees who watch patrons. Most importantly, they use technology to supervise the games themselves: chips with built-in microcircuitry let casinos see exactly what’s being wagered minute by minute; roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any statistical deviation from the expected results; and so on.

Casinos make their money by taking a small percentage of all bets placed on their games. This is called the house edge and it ensures that, over time, the casino will earn enough money to cover all of its expenses and turn a profit. To encourage gamblers to play, casinos offer free spectacular shows and transportation, elegant living quarters and other inducements. Nevertheless, there have been incidents of alleged fraud and cheating by casino staff members, and professional gamblers must report their winnings and losses on a Schedule C form with their taxes.

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