What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment where people play games of chance for money. Some casinos specialize in certain games, such as baccarat (in its French version, chemin de fer), roulette, blackjack, and poker. Others offer a full range of table and slot machines. Casinos generate billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors, and Native American tribes that own them. In addition, casinos provide many jobs in the United States and around the world.

A major part of a casino’s success is its ability to draw large numbers of visitors. In addition to flashing lights, bright colors, and a variety of games, most casinos feature elaborate stage shows and high-end restaurants. Some even have swimming pools and shopping malls. The Wynn Palace Casino in Macau, for example, has what is known as a “performance lake,” which features a choreographed fountain show set to music.

In the 1950s, mobster money flowed into Reno and Las Vegas to help establish their casinos. But legitimate businessmen with deep pockets, such as real estate developers and hotel chains, soon realized that they could make more money from casinos than organized crime. They also didn’t have to deal with the mob’s taint of crime or fear of losing their gaming license at the slightest hint of Mafia involvement.

In addition to the fancy decor and showy table games, most casinos employ sophisticated security measures to protect gamblers and their money. For instance, electronic surveillance systems allow security personnel to monitor all the tables and slot machines in the casino at one time. Some systems use cameras that can be shifted to focus on suspicious patrons. Casinos also have catwalks in the ceiling that allow security to look down through one-way glass at the casino floor below.