What Is a Casino?


A casino, or gambling house, is an establishment that offers a variety of ways to gamble. These include table games like blackjack and poker, slot machines, as well as video poker. Some casinos offer restaurants and live entertainment as well. Some are located in large resorts or hotel complexes, while others are located in other venues such as racetracks, or even cruise ships.

Casinos are huge money makers, bringing in billions of dollars each year for owners, investors, and local governments. They are also a major source of revenue for some states and Native American tribes. The success of casino gambling is often attributed to the fact that people find it stimulating, exciting, and socially acceptable. In addition, casinos are attractive places to visit because of their bright lights and exotic decor, and many people feel a sense of mystery when entering them.

In a 2002 survey, respondents who acknowledged engaging in casino gambling said that they did so because it was “fun” or a way to socialize with friends. More than half of these people selected slot machines as their favorite casino game; other popular choices were card games such as blackjack and poker, keno, and roulette. Craps and gambling on sports/racing events each attracted a significantly smaller percentage of gamblers.

The casino industry became increasingly profitable during the 1990s, as technological advances made it possible to monitor games more closely and discover anomalies quickly. For example, casino security personnel can monitor the shuffle of cards in poker rooms using cameras mounted on the ceiling; and the patterns of betting in roulette wheels are monitored electronically to spot any deviation from statistical norms. In addition, some casino games have built-in microcircuitry to track the exact amount of each bet minute by minute, and a computerized system warns dealers when there’s an unusual amount wagered.