What is a Casino?
Casino, also called a gambling house, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. These establishments may be incorporated with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and/or cruise ships. Casinos are designed around noise, light, and excitement and are decorated in bright and sometimes gaudy colors to stimulate gamblers’ senses. They often have special areas for table games and slot machines, as well as places to eat, drink, and socialize.
The majority of a casino’s profits are derived from gambling, which involves betting on the outcome of events that depend on chance. Slot machines and (since the 1980s) video poker are the economic mainstay of American casinos, where customers bet at sums ranging from five cents to a dollar or more. Table games such as blackjack, roulette, and craps appeal to larger bettors, who wager tens or even hundreds of dollars on each roll or spin. In addition to games of chance, modern casinos offer other forms of entertainment such as musical shows, lighted fountains, and shopping centers.
In addition to the obvious security measures, many casinos use technology to monitor players’ actions; for example, some have catwalks in the ceiling over the gaming floor that allow surveillance personnel to look down directly on the tables and machines. In addition, the routines of games such as baccarat and blackjack follow predictable patterns, making it easier for security to spot irregularities. Finally, casinos give “comps”—free goods or services—to high-volume players, such as free hotel rooms, meals, and tickets to shows.