A casino, also called a gaming hall, is a gambling establishment. Some casinos feature a mix of games, such as blackjack and poker, while others specialize in one or more particular types of games. Casinos are often located in the entertainment, business and tourist centers of cities and towns. Some are built as landmarks, such as the three-story Hippodrome in London, England.
A large percentage of a casino’s revenue comes from table and slot machines. The house edge in these games varies depending on the game, but most games have mathematically determined odds that ensure the casino a steady profit. This advantage, which is usually no more than two percent, is known as the vig or rake, and it earns casinos enough money to build elaborate hotels, fountains, towers, pyramids and replicas of famous landmarks.
Casinos also make money from the televised games of craps and roulette, which are played by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Casinos also offer a variety of other games, including baccarat (also known as chemin de fer), pai gow poker, keno, black jack and video poker.
Casinos use technology to monitor and protect patrons’ investments, as well as to supervise the games themselves. For example, some casinos have catwalks in the ceiling that allow surveillance personnel to look down on the tables through one-way glass. They also rely on computerized systems that can oversee the exact amounts wagered minute-by-minute, detect any deviation from expected results and warn dealers of suspicious activity.