What Is a Casino?


A casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. While musical shows, lighted fountains and elaborate hotels help draw in patrons, the majority of a casino’s profits are derived from gambling games. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno provide the billions in profits casinos rake in each year.

Gambling has been around in some form or another for thousands of years. The precise origin is unknown, but it’s widely believed that people in almost every society have participated in games of chance for money or other prizes. Many of these games evolved into modern casino gambling. In the United States, casinos first appeared on Indian reservations in the 1980s and now operate legally in most American states.

There is a dark side to casinos, however. Studies suggest that they harm local economies by diverting spending from other forms of entertainment; cause problems among people with gambling disorders; and decrease property values. The economic costs of treating problem gamblers and lost productivity from their addiction often reverse any initial revenue that casinos bring in.

In addition to specializing in games of chance, many casino facilities offer dining and other amenities. These include restaurants, a spa, retail shopping and live entertainment. Some casinos also have a high-tech surveillance system with cameras that have an “eye-in-the-sky” view of the whole casino. These cameras can be adjusted to focus on specific tables, windows and doors. They can also be viewed remotely by security personnel. These camera systems are used to monitor players and help prevent cheating, stealing and other criminal activity. The surveillance system also records all game play and allows security to check the history of individual players. These videos are stored in a secure vault and can be used for investigations of fraud and other illegal activities.