What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment, specifically one that features table games such as blackjack and roulette and card games such as poker. Casinos may also offer other forms of gaming, such as keno and slot machines. A casino is operated by a government agency or private company, and is overseen by a regulatory body, such as a state gaming control board or commission. In the United States, only those over the age of 21 are allowed to play at casinos. In addition, those who are on a state or casino self-exclusion list are not allowed to play.

A modern casino is highly regulated to prevent cheating and theft by both patrons and employees. Security is usually divided between a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department. The latter uses a high-tech eye in the sky system to watch every table, window and doorway. It can be adjusted to focus on certain suspicious patrons by workers in a separate room filled with banks of security monitors. In addition to cameras, a large percentage of casino security personnel are trained to spot telltale signs of problem gambling.

Something about gambling (probably the presence of large amounts of money) encourages people to cheat and steal, either in collusion with others or on their own. Because of this, casinos spend a great deal of time and money on security. In addition to security, many casinos offer free food and beverages to “good” players. Ask a casino employee if they know where the hot slots are; they might be willing to share that information for a good tip.