What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment, primarily for card and table games. It may also offer sports betting and other forms of entertainment. In some countries, casinos are operated by government-owned enterprises. Others are owned by private individuals or groups. Some casinos are integrated with hotels or resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and other tourist attractions.

In the United States, casinos are regulated by state laws and operate under a license from the gaming control board. Some casinos, particularly those located in Las Vegas, have become major tourist destinations with their own unique atmosphere and offerings. Most of these casinos are designed to appeal to gamblers by offering them sound and light shows, often based on popular themes, as well as the chance to win large amounts of money.

Casinos make their money by charging players a fee to play the games, known as the rake. This fee, which is the same for all entrants, covers overhead costs and provides a profit margin over the house’s investment in each game. The amount of the rake for each game is based on its odds, and casinos employ mathematicians to compute the house edge and variance of their games.

Because of the large amounts of money handled in a casino, it is possible for patrons to cheat or steal, either in collusion with other players or independently. To discourage this, most casinos have extensive security measures. Some of these include: a physical security force, often augmented by a specialized surveillance department; and an elaborate closed circuit television system with an “eye in the sky” that can monitor every table, change window, and doorway.