Casinos are entertainment establishments in which a variety of games of chance are offered. They are primarily located in American cities, but also in European and Asian countries.
The etymology of the word casino is traced back to Italy and it once denoted something as simple as a villa or a summerhouse, or even a social club. Today, casinos are complex places that combine gambling with other recreational activities for tourists and holidaymakers.
There are three main categories of casino games: gaming machines, table games and random number games. All of them have a mathematically determined advantage for the casino, called the house edge.
In some casino games, such as poker, the casino takes a commission, known as a rake. In other cases, the casino has a long-term advantage over the players because it has access to better cards or more knowledge of the rules.
Often, casinos also offer free or reduced-fare transportation, hotel rooms and other inducements to high rollers. These customers spend a large amount of money, which gives the casino a high gross profit.
Modern casinos employ both a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department, which operates the casino’s closed circuit television system. These departments work closely with each other to prevent crime and keep the casino’s assets safe.
Some casinos have catwalks in the ceiling above the casino floor, so that surveillance personnel can look directly down on the activity at tables and slot machines. Despite these safety measures, the incidence of theft has not decreased dramatically in recent years.