What is a Casino?

A casino, or gambling house, is an establishment that provides gambling services. Modern casinos often combine this service with hotels, resorts and other tourist attractions. They may also offer live entertainment, such as music and shows. Historically, the term casino has also been used to refer to a public hall for music and dancing.

While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate themes help lure customers into casinos, the vast majority of the billions of dollars that casino owners rake in each year comes from games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, poker and craps are all popular games that provide the thrill of winning (or losing) big. Other games, including bingo and keno, are not nearly as popular.

In addition to stimulating atmospheres, casinos focus on customer service by offering perks designed to encourage gamblers to spend more and reward those who do. In the 1970s, for example, Las Vegas casinos were famous for their deeply discounted travel packages and cheap buffets and free show tickets. This strategy was aimed at maximizing the number of people coming to Las Vegas and filling hotel rooms and the casino floor.

Many casinos have high-tech surveillance systems that give security personnel a “eye in the sky” view of all tables, windows and doorways. These cameras can be focused on suspicious patrons by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of monitors. The camera system can also record a video feed for later review if an incident occurs.