A casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. It may be part of a hotel, or it may be located in an entirely separate building. Some casinos specialize in specific games, such as baccarat or poker. Others are designed for general entertainment, such as the Bellagio in Las Vegas. A casino is distinguished from other establishments for gambling, such as lotteries and Internet betting sites, by the social aspect of the gaming experience. In the United States, casinos are most common in Nevada and Atlantic City. They are also found in Chicago, New Jersey, and other cities. Some Native American tribes also operate casinos. Because large amounts of money are handled within a casino, both patrons and staff members may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with each other or by acting independently. To discourage this, most modern casinos employ a variety of security measures.
In addition to creating stimulating environments, casinos strive to attract and retain customers by offering perks such as free or discounted food, drinks, show tickets, hotel rooms, and even airline tickets for big spenders. These rewards are called comps. They help to offset the house edge, which is the mathematical expectation that a casino will make a profit on a given game in the long run.
Most modern casinos have two security departments: a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department. The former patrols the property and responds to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious or criminal activity. The latter operates the casino’s closed circuit television system, which is used to monitor and record patron activities. A trained security officer is required to be present at all times in the main gaming areas.
Casinos are legal in many jurisdictions and are typically regulated by state or provincial governments. In the United States, casinos are most often found in Las Vegas; however, they can also be found in Atlantic City, New Jersey; Chicago; and other cities. They are also licensed and regulated by gaming control boards.
In the early 20th century, many American states passed laws permitting casinos or expanding their existing operations. During this period, mobsters controlled many of the casinos, but as the mob’s influence faded, real estate developers and hotel chains bought out the mobsters and established legitimate businesses. Today, there are more than 3,000 casinos worldwide, including many in Europe. Some are small, with less than 300 slot machines, while others are massive, such as the Hippodrome in London, which has more than 2,000 slots and tables. Many of these casinos have integrated themselves into resorts or are located on cruise ships. A few have been built in remote locations, such as on Indian reservations. The number of casinos is expected to increase further as the legalization of gambling spreads across the globe. The largest casino in the world is the Venetian in Macau, China. It has a casino floor that is 376,000 square feet and includes more than 400 tables for games like baccarat, sands stud poker, and blackjack, as well as Asian-specific games such as sic bo.