What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance and, in some cases, skill. Casinos feature games such as roulette, baccarat, blackjack and video poker, among others. Most games have mathematically determined odds that ensure the house always has an advantage over the players, a fact reflected in the slang term “house edge”.

Gambling in casinos has been around for more than 150 years. The elegant spa town of Baden-Baden welcomed royalty and European aristocracy to its tables, which were lavishly decorated with baroque flourishes.

In the United States, Nevada was the first state to allow legalized casino gambling. Its popularity inspired other states to follow suit, and many casinos opened in the 1980s and ’90s. Some were built on riverboats, and some are located on American Indian reservations. Many of these casinos are very large, and they offer a wide range of entertainment, as well as top-notch hotels and restaurants.

The casinos are protected by a number of security measures. Most importantly, they employ a lot of people to watch the casino patrons. Dealers have a close eye on their game and can easily spot blatant cheating like palming, marking or switching cards. Table managers and pit bosses have a more broader view of the gaming floor and can look for betting patterns that could indicate cheating. In addition, the casino’s sophisticated surveillance systems have an “eye-in-the-sky” capability that allows security workers to monitor the entire casino at once.