What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment where people can gamble on games of chance. The games played in casinos are usually based on card games, dice or domino games, with the house taking a percentage of the total amount wagered. Some casinos specialize in certain types of games, such as poker, blackjack and baccarat, while others offer a wide variety of different gambling activities. Some casinos, such as the Bellagio on the Italian-Swiss border, even have a music hall and fine dining restaurants.

A modern casino is more like an indoor amusement park for adults than a traditional gambling house. Musical shows, lighted fountains and elaborate themes attract patrons, but the billions in profits casinos bring in each year come from the games of chance. Slot machines, craps, keno, roulette and other table games generate the majority of the revenue.

To keep gambling addicts from stealing money or cheating at games, casinos employ a team of security workers to monitor the games. Dealers keep an eye out for blatantly obvious cheating techniques such as palming or marking cards, while pit bosses and table managers have a broader view of the tables and can note patterns in betting that might signal a cheat. Casinos also use video cameras and computer systems that track each individual bet minute by minute to detect any statistical deviation from expected results.

Mob money once flowed freely into casinos in Reno and Las Vegas, but federal crackdowns and the taint of organized crime meant that legitimate businessmen were reluctant to invest their own capital in a industry with such a seamy image. Eventually, hotel and real estate investors with deep pockets bought out the mobsters and ran their casinos without the mob’s interference.