A casino is an establishment where gambling activities take place. It can be part of a hotel, resort, restaurant, or other tourist attraction. It may also offer live entertainment such as concerts and stand-up comedy. Some casinos are famous for their architecture and location, while others are known for their luxurious amenities such as spas and free drinks.
A player gambles by playing games of chance or skill, such as poker, blackjack and craps. Some of the games are played against the house, while others are competitive with other players. Regardless of the game, most casinos have mathematically determined odds that ensure that the house has a consistent advantage over the players. This edge, which is built into the rules of each game, is known as the house edge or expected value (EV).
EV is typically expressed in percentage terms. A negative EV indicates that the house is likely to lose money, while a positive EV means that the casino is likely to make a profit. This mathematical certainty is one of the primary attractions of casinos, which regularly advertise their guaranteed profits to potential customers.
Many modern casinos have security measures to deter theft by patrons and employees. These may include physical security forces and specialized surveillance departments that monitor casino operations using closed circuit television systems, often called the eye in the sky. Casino security personnel are trained to recognize the patterns of normal casino behavior and to quickly identify any deviations from those patterns, which may indicate criminal activity.