What is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for gambling, with some having a large collection of slot machines and table games. Often they are combined with hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions. Some of them are also known for their live entertainment.

The word casino has several meanings in English, although the OED lists four different definitions (see ‘Meaning & use’). In all cases, the word is used to refer to an establishment that offers certain types of gambling, particularly card games and table games such as blackjack, roulette and baccarat. In some casinos, these are conducted by a live dealer; in others, the players play against each other.

Some casino games have a significant skill element, and some involve complex strategy. Nevertheless, the house edge for these games is usually relatively low, compared to those where the patrons compete against each other (such as poker), and the casino earns money by charging an hourly fee for the privilege of playing (known as a ‘rake’).

Due to the large amounts of currency handled within the premises, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently; therefore, most casinos employ a variety of security measures. For example, patrons are given a player card that can be swiped before each game; the cards record their total spending and allow the casino to track winnings and losses. In addition, most casinos offer loyalty programs that reward frequent patrons with free or discounted meals, drinks, hotel rooms and show tickets.