What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment. Some casinos specialize in certain types of games, such as poker or blackjack. Others offer a more diverse selection of entertainment, such as sports betting or stage shows. Most casinos are located in the United States, but some are operated by Native American tribes. In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, casinos are licensed and regulated by government agencies. In addition to offering gambling, many casinos also host restaurants and other amenities for their guests.

Most casino games involve some element of chance, requiring the players to compete against the house rather than against each other. The house advantage is mathematically determined, and can be expressed in terms of expected value or the ratio of true odds to the sum wagered. In games such as roulette, craps, and blackjack, the house has a constant edge over the players. In some cases, the house advantage can be eliminated by skillful play. Such players are called advantage players.

Due to the large amounts of money handled within a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with each other or independently. To prevent this, modern casinos usually employ a combination of physical security forces and specialized surveillance departments. The latter often operate closed circuit television systems that provide a live feed from cameras placed throughout the gaming area. Occasionally, casinos may even install catwalks that allow surveillance personnel to look down on the tables and machines through one way glass.