What Is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people can play games of chance for money. Traditionally, these games have been conducted by dealers and croupiers at tables that are specially designed for the particular game. Modern casinos also offer a variety of electronic gaming machines that take bets and pay out winnings based on random numbers.

The casino industry generates billions of dollars each year for the businesses, investors, and Native American tribes that operate them. In addition, many state and local governments profit from the taxes and fees that casinos collect on gambling winnings.

There are more than 3,000 legal casinos worldwide. Most are located in large resorts or in cities that have special laws permitting them. In the United States, many casinos are operated on Indian reservations, which are exempt from state antigambling laws. Others are located in racetracks, or are built on barges and boats that travel the country’s waterways.

Most casinos are heavily guarded. Security staff watch over the tables and slots, observing patrons’ betting patterns and watching for signs of cheating. In addition, the croupiers at each table are closely watched by the pit boss and manager, who keep track of each one’s performance and earnings.

Something about gambling encourages some people to try to steal, cheat or scam their way into a jackpot. For this reason, casinos devote a great deal of attention and money to security. In the past, these efforts often focused on preventing unauthorized card dealing and dice rolling, but recent innovations in computer technology have greatly improved casino surveillance systems. For example, some table-game chips have built-in microcircuitry that enables the casinos to monitor the exact amount of money being wagered minute by minute and warn the croupiers quickly if there is an abnormality.