What is a Casino?

A casino is a building or room in which gambling games are played. Customers place bets against the house, and win or lose money according to the rules of the game. Most casino games are games of chance, but some have an element of skill. The house edge, or expected value, is the mathematically determined advantage that the casino has over the players. The casino makes its profit by taking a percentage of the wagers or charging an hourly fee for some games.

Casinos are heavily regulated and monitored by governments to prevent cheating or bribery, especially if they are located in areas popular with tourists such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Security measures include a full range of cameras and monitors, plus staff who patrol the gaming floor and supervise table games to spot suspicious betting patterns or other signs of cheating.

To encourage gamblers to spend more, casinos offer free food and drinks. These perks are known as comps. In addition, many casinos have clubs that function like airline frequent-flyer programs. Gamblers swipe their player cards before each game, and the casino computers track their spending habits to tally up points that can be exchanged for coupons good for free slot play or discounted meals, drinks or shows. Casinos also use these databases to develop marketing profiles of their patrons.

The decor of casinos is designed around noise, light and excitement. Red is a popular color because it is thought to make people lose track of time. Windows are rare, and clocks are seldom displayed. This is to prevent players from realizing how long they have been gambling and limiting their losses.