What Is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It may be a standalone building or a room within a hotel/resort, or it may be attached to a shopping mall or other tourist attraction. In the United States, casinos are generally located in cities with high tourist traffic, such as Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Some casinos are also found on American Indian reservations and are not subject to state antigambling laws.

Most casino games are games of chance, although skill is sometimes involved in games such as blackjack and video poker. Most games have a house edge, which is the casino’s mathematical expectation of winning over each patron. This advantage can be calculated and is known as the expected value of a bet (EVB). In games that involve skill, such as poker, the casino earns money through a commission called the rake.

Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. For this reason, most casinos have security measures to prevent these activities. These include security cameras, which are typically mounted throughout the casino and can be viewed by surveillance personnel. In addition, some casinos have catwalks in the ceiling above the gaming floor, allowing security personnel to look directly down on players from above. This allows them to see if any players are taking illegal actions such as changing the outcome of a game, and it is often used to identify high rollers.