A Casino is a gambling establishment where patrons can gamble and play games of chance. The word comes from the Latin “cainis,” meaning “foul.” While some casinos specialize in one or more specific types of games, many offer a vast array of options, including table and card games, keno, video poker, roulette, baccarat, and craps. Casinos also offer food, drinks and entertainment. The largest concentration of casinos in the United States is in Las Vegas. Other major centers include Atlantic City, New Jersey and Chicago. Casinos are regulated by state law. Because large amounts of money are handled within a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, in collusion or independently. To prevent such activity, most casinos employ several security measures.
The casinos earn their money through a variety of methods, including charging fees for use of the facilities and offering complimentary items or “comps” to players. The comps may be free meals, show tickets, hotel rooms, or even cash. In games such as poker, where players compete against each other, the house takes a percentage of the money wagered, known as the rake.
In addition to the usual games, some casinos feature a wide range of traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo and fan-tan. They may also have regional favorites such as two-up in Australia, banca francesa in Portugal, boule in France and kalooki in Britain. Despite their glitz and glamour, critics point out that the majority of casinos generate little or no economic benefits to local communities, and that the cost of treating problem gamblers negates any positive social impact.