What Is a Casino?

A casino is a place where gambling games take place. Casinos are often combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, cruise ships and/or other tourist attractions. They are sometimes referred to as gambling houses or gaming facilities, although the term house is technically only used for a building where casino games are played.

The most important feature of a casino is that it must be run by a licensed operator. Various regulations govern the operation of casinos in different jurisdictions, including age restrictions, minimum bets and maximum winnings. Some countries have banned or restricted the establishment of casinos altogether, while others have legalized and regulated them.

Generally speaking, most casino games have a built-in advantage for the house. This advantage is based on the math of the game and is known as the house edge. For example, in roulette or craps the house always has a mathematical edge over the players. In card games, the house makes money by taking a rake or a percentage of each pot.

Casinos focus on customer service, offering perks designed to encourage gamblers to spend more money. These perks are referred to as comps (complimentary items) and are a major source of income for most casinos. In addition, casinos often offer discounted travel packages and free show tickets to attract gamblers.

Casinos are located throughout the world, but some of the most famous are in Las Vegas and Monte Carlo. There are also a number of smaller, older casinos in the United States, such as Foxwoods, which is located in Connecticut and is a huge gambling complex that dwarfs most big-name gambling hotels. The beautiful Niagara Falls is another popular casino destination, where tourists can cross between the U.S. and Canadian sides to experience casinos on both.