A casino (also known as a gaming house or a gambling establishment) is an establishment offering certain types of gambling. Some casinos are stand-alone, while others are combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, or cruise ships. Casinos are also known for offering entertainment such as live music and shows. In some countries, casinos are regulated by law.
Many states have laws against gambling, but some do not. Casinos are often built in areas that are not subject to state anti-gambling laws, such as on American Indian reservations or near lakes or rivers. Casinos can be operated by tribes, gambling companies, or individuals. Some casinos are even part of luxury resorts or hotels.
In the United States, there are about 3,000 casinos. Some are in cities with names like Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, or Atlantic City. Some casinos are named after a famous person or place, such as the Mirage in Las Vegas, which is partly owned by a member of the European royal family. Others are built to resemble landmarks, such as the Bellagio in Las Vegas, which is designed to look like a French opera house.
Most people who gamble in a casino play table games, such as blackjack and poker. A croupier or dealer enables these games and manages the payments. Unlike slot machines, in which players push buttons to activate the game, in table games, players interact with one another and make bets using chips. Depending on the game, some bets require skill, while others are entirely random. Casinos encourage gambling by offering perks to those who spend the most money. These perks are called comps.
In addition to promoting gambling, casinos are a major source of revenue for local governments. They usually collect a percentage of the total bets, which is called the rake. Casinos also provide jobs, especially for women and minorities.
Despite the ties to crime, casinos are often considered glamorous and exciting places to visit. Their bright, sometimes gaudy floors and walls are designed to be visually stimulating. They also create a sense of noise and excitement by having people shout out encouragement to other players, as well as to the dealers in the table games. They offer a variety of drinks, including alcohol, and they often have waiters circulating throughout the casino.
There are also many security measures in casinos. In addition to the standard video cameras and security guards, many have special technology that helps monitor the games themselves. In “chip tracking,” betting chips with built-in microcircuitry interact with electronic systems in the tables to enable casinos to oversee the exact amounts wagered minute by minute and to quickly detect any statistical deviation from expected results. Other examples include electronic monitoring of roulette wheels to discover any tampering or wheel bias, and wholly automated and enclosed versions of table games like dice and roulette, where no human dealers are required. Casinos also employ specialized mathematicians and computer programmers to help with their gaming analysis.