A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It may also be called a gaming house or a gambling den. In the United States, it is a legal term for an establishment that offers various forms of gambling. The word is derived from the Latin caesares, meaning “house of chance.”

Many people see a casino as an institution that encourages dishonesty and fraud because it pays out large amounts of money. This is not a fair characterization of casinos. Almost every game has a built in statistical advantage for the casino that can be very small—less than two percent—but, over millions of wagers, it adds up. This gives the casino a virtual assurance of gross profit. It is rare for a casino to lose money on any game.

Most games in a casino are banked, with the house taking a percentage of each bet. Examples include blackjack, roulette and keno. A few games are not banked, such as craps and slot machines. In nonbanked games, the payout and the house’s cut depend on the number of players and the amount that each player bets.

Some casinos earn most of their income from high-stakes gamblers, who are called “high rollers.” These big spenders get free hotel rooms and limo service. They might be offered reduced-fare transportation, free dinners and show tickets or other inducements. In addition, they play in special rooms, away from the main casino floor, where their bets are often in the tens of thousands of dollars.