What is a Casino?


Casino is a place where people can gamble on games of chance. A modern casino might include a hotel, restaurant, shopping center and entertainment venue, but the majority of its revenue is generated from gambling activities. While lighted fountains, stage shows and dramatic scenery may draw in the crowds, casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars of bets placed every year on games like blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and video poker.

Some casinos offer traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo and fan-tan. These games are usually played with small chips that don’t look much like real money, which can help players avoid the temptation to spend more than they can afford to lose. The use of these chips also allows the casino to track player spending habits and comp them with free goods and services such as rooms, food and show tickets.

While the casino industry enjoys worldwide popularity, it has its share of dark sides. For example, during the heyday of Las Vegas gambling in the 1950s, many of its owners were mobster types who had acquired large amounts of cash from illegal rackets such as drug dealing and extortion. These mobsters were willing to invest this cash in casinos, often taking sole or partial ownership of the establishments and exerting their influence over the games and patrons.

Given the large amounts of money that pass through a casino’s doors, both patrons and staff are sometimes tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with each other or independently. Casinos typically have security measures in place to prevent this, including cameras that are placed throughout the building and an “eye-in-the-sky” system that allows surveillance workers to watch all tables and machines through one way mirrors.