What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a wide range of games of chance. It also provides entertainment, food and drink. In some places, the legality of casinos is regulated by state laws.

A modern casino offers a variety of different types of games of chance, including slots, blackjack, video poker, and more. Some casinos even offer skill-based games, such as baccarat or pai gow poker. The casinos that offer the most varied selections of games tend to be the biggest and most luxurious, but there are also many smaller, less opulent gambling houses that operate legally.

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 with each other or independently. To prevent this, casinos employ a variety of security measures. These include physical security forces that patrol the premises and a specialized surveillance department, sometimes known as an “eye in the sky” that allows casino security to monitor every table, window and doorway at once through a high-tech closed circuit system.

In the early days of Las Vegas, casinos were often owned by organized crime figures. However, as real estate investors and hotel chains got in on the action they began to out-bid the mobsters, buying out their holdings and cleaning up their image. Mafia involvement is now uncommon, as federal crackdowns and the threat of losing a gaming license at even a hint of mob involvement have forced gangsters out of the casino business.