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What Is a Casino?

A casino is a public room or building where gambling games such as roulette, baccarat, blackjack, poker and slot machines are played. The term is also used for a group of such rooms, especially one in a large hotel. It is not to be confused with a saloon (sense 2b).

Aside from the obvious attractions of gaming and luxury accommodations, casinos often feature world-class restaurants, breath-taking art installations, and high-end shopping outlets. The glamorous Bellagio in Las Vegas, made famous by the Ocean’s 11 movie, is a prime example.

Most casino games are based on chance, but some have an element of skill. In a game with an element of skill, the house always has an advantage, which is mathematically determined and independent of any player’s skill or luck; this is known as the house edge. In games where players compete against each other, the casino earns a profit through a commission or rake on the winnings.

Because large amounts of money are handled within a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. To mitigate these risks, casinos employ a variety of security measures. These include closed circuit television (CCTV) throughout the casino, electronic surveillance of all areas of the casino floor, and random audits of games by supervisory personnel. In addition, some casinos use specialized equipment to ensure the integrity of their games. For instance, in the United States, all slot machines are wired to a central computer system that monitors each machine’s results minute by minute, and rapidly detects any statistical deviation from expected outcomes.