What Is a Casino?

A casino, also known as a gambling house or a gaming hall, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos are most often built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, and other tourist attractions. Some casinos are also famous for their live entertainment.

In the United States, the largest concentration of casinos is in Las Vegas, Nevada. Other popular casino locations include Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Chicago, Illinois. Casinos can also be found on some American Indian reservations, which are exempt from state gambling laws. In 2008, about 24% of Americans reported visiting a casino within the previous year.

The casinos themselves are designed around noise, light, and excitement. Patrons are encouraged to interact with one another, cheer each other on, and shout encouragement; drinks are readily available, usually at no cost, from waiters circulating throughout the casino; and there are brightly colored floor and wall coverings that stimulate the senses and increase alertness. The term casino also refers to the games themselves, which are based on chance and probabilities and may or may not involve skill.

The casinos use a variety of security measures to protect their customers and property. Most obvious is the presence of guards and surveillance cameras. In addition, the routines and patterns of the games themselves are observed closely to detect any anomalies that might indicate cheating or theft. For example, the way that chips are purchased and redeemed follows a predictable pattern that makes it easier for security personnel to spot any deviation from protocol.