What is a Casino?

A casino (plural: casinos) is a facility for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and other tourist attractions. They may also be located near or combined with military bases and cruise ships. The word casino derives from the Spanish term for “gambling house.” In modern usage, it refers to a full-scale recreational complex with a variety of gaming activities.

Generally, casino games are divided into three general categories: gaming machines, table games, and random number games. Gaming machines, such as slot machines, are played by one or more players at a time and do not require the involvement of casino employees. Table games, such as blackjack or craps, are conducted by live croupiers and involve competition between players and the house. Random number games, such as roulette or baccarat, use a combination of chance and strategy to determine winning numbers.

Besides gambling, casinos have many other amenities for their visitors, including luxury accommodations and high-end dining. They also host entertainment shows, which can range from high-flying circus acts to the latest musicians topping the Billboard charts. In order to protect patrons and staff from cheating or stealing, most casinos employ numerous security measures. These include video cameras, computerized systems to oversee game play (e.g., in “chip tracking,” betting chips have built-in microcircuitry that interacts with electronic systems to enable casinos to monitor exactly how much is wagered minute by minute), and specially designed wheels of chance that are electronically monitored regularly to discover any statistical deviation from their expected results.