What Is a Casino?

Gambling establishments that feature games of chance and a variety of other entertainment. Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. They may also be known as gaming houses, kasino (Spanish) or kashmir (Pakistani). The precise origin of gambling is unknown; it appears in most cultures throughout history. Some casinos feature a wide variety of casino table and slot machines, while others focus on one particular type of game such as poker or craps. Some casinos include non-gambling attractions such as musical shows, lighted fountains and theme parks.

Because large amounts of money are handled within the casino, there is always a temptation for employees and patrons to cheat and steal, either in collusion or independently. To counter this, most casinos have strict security measures. In addition to the obvious cameras and monitors, many have catwalks running around the perimeter of the casino floor that allow surveillance personnel to look down on the players through one-way glass. Some casinos also have security guards standing at the entrance to each room, to prevent guests from entering unauthorized areas.

Many critics of casinos argue that they do more harm than good to local communities. They claim that the revenue from casino games shifts spending from other forms of entertainment, such as movies and concerts, and that the cost of treating compulsive gamblers more than offsets any economic benefits that casinos might bring to a community.