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What Is a Casino?

A casino, also known as a gaming establishment or a gambling house, is a place where people can gamble on games of chance or on game with an element of skill. In the United States casinos are usually licensed and regulated by state law. Casinos may have a variety of games, including roulette, craps, baccarat, blackjack, and poker. Some casinos have high-limit rooms for those who wish to wager larger amounts. Most casino games have mathematically determined odds that give the house an advantage over the players, even when the games are fair. This advantage is commonly referred to as the house edge. Casinos profit from the house edge through various means, including a commission taken by employees at tables and by the use of sophisticated computer chips in slot machines.

In addition to standard gambling offerings, many casinos offer non-gambling entertainment options like bars, restaurants, and hotel rooms. They may also feature swimming pools, bowling alleys, and other non-gambling activities. Many casinos also provide complimentary items to gamblers, a practice known as comping.

Casinos are usually heavily guarded, and their security staffs are highly trained. Some have elaborate systems that allow them to keep track of everything going on in their facilities at the same time. For instance, some casinos use “chip tracking,” which allows them to see exactly how much money is wagered at each table minute by minute; and other systems monitor roulette wheels for statistical deviations. In addition, most casinos have cameras in the ceiling that watch every doorway, window, and table.