What is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people gamble. Although musical shows, lighted fountains and hotel amenities may draw visitors to casinos, the majority of profits (and fun) comes from gambling games like slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and poker. Unlike lottery games, which are purely chance, these activities require skill and strategy to win. Casinos also offer free drinks and stage shows, but even a very modest gambling house could be called a casino.

Gambling was illegal for most of the nation’s history, and it took a long time for it to become a legitimate industry. The mob controlled much of the early gambling business, but eventually real estate investors and hotel chains bought out the mafia and started their own operations. Federal crackdowns and the threat of losing a gaming license at the slightest hint of mob involvement keep the mob out of casinos today.

In the modern era, casinos have gone beyond a simple gambling house to include hotels, restaurants and retail stores, as well as elaborate themes and scenery. Some have even added theaters and arenas for concerts and events. But the basic ingredients of a casino remain unchanged. A casino is a building or room where gambling games are played, and profit is the primary objective of the operation. Adding to the excitement is the fact that casino games are largely social, with gamblers often surrounded by other players while playing. Many of these games are also very noisy, with the clang of coins and bells adding to the overall atmosphere.