A casino is an establishment for gambling. Many casinos also offer live entertainment, such as concerts and stand-up comedy, and may be combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, cruise ships or other tourist attractions. The term casino may also refer to an association of such establishments or a particular type of game, such as poker. In military and non-military usage, the word can also refer to a officers’ mess.
Unlike the slot machines in Las Vegas, where all bets are made with chips that look nothing like real money (and thus reduce the house edge), casino games typically have an established mathematical expectancy of winning, meaning the average patron cannot win more than the casino can afford to pay out. This virtual assurance of gross profit allows the casino to offer big bettors extravagant inducements, such as free spectacular entertainment, hotel rooms, limo service and airline tickets.
Because large amounts of money are handled within a casino, both patrons and staff members may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. To counter this, most casinos have a number of security measures in place. For example, employees who work the floor closely monitor the action and can spot blatant cheating or suspicious betting patterns. Likewise, pit bosses and table managers have a broader view of the tables and can watch for signs of collusion between players.
Regardless of the lavish amenities, white-tablecloth restaurants and opulent decorations, a casino is fundamentally a gambling house. The billions of dollars in profits raked in every year are generated by games of chance, such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno. But what makes a good casino?