What Is a Casino?
A casino is a building where people play a variety of games of chance for money or other prizes. The term may also refer to an establishment that adds extra luxuries to gambling to attract customers, such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows.
Something about gambling (perhaps the presence of large amounts of money) seems to encourage both patrons and employees to cheat and steal, either in collusion or independently. For this reason casinos spend a lot of time, effort and money on security. Cameras are placed throughout the casinos and staff members are trained to spot suspicious behavior.
Casinos usually have a floor dedicated to table games and slot machines. Other areas might be devoted to poker, bingo or other activities. Some casinos also have a sports book where visitors can place bets on a variety of sporting events.
Historically, casinos were run by organized crime figures, who made their money through drug dealing and other illegal enterprises. Mob money brought a steady flow of money into Reno and Las Vegas, where many of today’s big-name casinos first opened. The mobsters became heavily involved in the operations, taking sole or partial ownership of casinos and even influencing outcomes of some games by threatening violence against opposition players or dealers.
Today’s casinos are choosy about the people they let gamble, and they focus on “high rollers,” who make up a significant percentage of the revenue. These big-spending patrons are rewarded with complimentary items, or comps, that might include free hotel rooms, meals, tickets to shows or even limo service and airline tickets. Comps are generally based on the amount of time and money a person spends at the casino.