What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment where people can place wagers on various games of chance or skill. Almost all casinos offer table games such as blackjack, roulette and poker, and many have slot machines and video gaming machines. Some even have sports betting sections. In addition to standard gambling activities, some casinos also offer dining and entertainment. The world’s largest casino is the Venetian Macau in the city of Macau, China. Other large casinos include the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the Cosmopolitan in Los Angeles and the newest addition to the Las Vegas strip, the Palazzo.

The casino business has long had a seamy image, and in the past organized crime figures provided much of the bankroll for casinos in Nevada and elsewhere. But mob money was usually not enough to make casinos profitable, and federal crackdowns on criminal activity forced mobsters out of the casino business. Real estate investors and hotel chains had much deeper pockets, and they became the new owners of many of the old mob-owned casinos.

Besides high-tech surveillance systems, modern casinos rely heavily on routines and patterns to keep gamblers from cheating or otherwise abusing the system. The way dealers shuffle cards, the position of the chips on the tables and the expected reactions and motions of players all follow certain patterns that security personnel can easily spot. The use of these and other technological tools allows casinos to monitor the play of every game minute by minute, and to quickly detect any deviation from expectations.