A casino, or gaming house, is a facility where people can gamble by playing games of chance or skill. Some casinos specialize in specific games, such as baccarat and roulette; others are known for poker or other card games. Most gambling centers are located in cities or tourist destinations, with some like Monte Carlo being famous in their own right.
The large amounts of money handled within a casino may make patrons and staff tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently; therefore, most casinos have extensive security measures. Security cameras placed throughout the casino monitor everything that happens on the floor and in the windows. Elaborate surveillance systems provide a high-tech “eye in the sky” that allows security workers to adjust their cameras to focus on suspicious individuals.
Many of the most popular casino games have mathematically determined odds that give the house an advantage over players, regardless of their skill or the amount they bet. This advantage is known as the house edge. In games of skill, such as poker and blackjack, the house takes a percentage of each player’s winnings, a fee called the rake.
There are now more than 1,000 casinos in the world, and most of them are in the United States. Nevada leads the way, with Atlantic City second and Chicago third (in terms of revenue). Some American Indian reservations also have casinos, which are exempt from state antigambling laws. The number of casinos in the country increased greatly during the 1980s, as more states passed legislation to allow them.