What Is a Casino?


A casino, also known as a gambling house, is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. These establishments typically have a variety of gaming tables and slot machines. The types of games played vary from casino to casino, but the majority of them are based on luck and skill. In addition to gambling, casinos often feature restaurants and live entertainment. They may be located in large cities or on Indian reservations. They can also be found on cruise ships or in hotels.

There are more than 3,000 casinos worldwide. Almost all of them are legally licensed and operated. In the United States, there are approximately 51 million adults over age 21 who visit a casino every year. The industry is growing, and in 2002 the American Gaming Association estimated that the casino industry generated more than $26 billion in revenue.

Casinos are legal in many jurisdictions, and they usually have to meet certain minimum requirements in order to be permitted to operate. The most important regulation is the requirement that gambling be supervised by an official who is accountable for preventing and detecting misconduct. In addition, a casino must have procedures for handling money and dealing with cheating or theft. Most casinos employ a combination of physical and electronic security measures.

Most casinos offer a variety of games, and some have specialized in creating new ones to appeal to particular markets. For example, Asian casinos offer traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo (which spread to several European and American casinos during the 1990s), fan-tan, and pai gow. In addition, some casinos specialize in a particular type of game such as roulette or poker.

In addition to the games themselves, casinos are famous for their opulent decor and a wide array of other amenities that make them appealing to the whole family. They often feature restaurants specializing in gourmet food, luxury hotels, and other entertainment options. Many also have swimming pools, spas, and other luxurious features. For example, the Hippodrome in London was built over a century ago to serve as a performance center, but today it is home to a range of top-notch restaurants and other attractions.

Because casinos handle large amounts of cash, they are susceptible to a number of crimes committed by both patrons and employees. Among the most common are cheating and stealing, which can occur either in collusion or independently. To prevent these crimes, most casinos have a dedicated security force and a specialized surveillance department. In addition to these personnel, many casinos use closed circuit television to monitor all of their activities. They also have catwalks that allow security personnel to look down on the gaming floor from above. In some casinos, this system is augmented by actual cameras on the floor. These systems can help deter criminal activity by making it more difficult for crooks to conceal their faces from the security camera lens. In some casinos, the cameras are even activated by motion sensors.