What Is a Casino?

A casino, as its name suggests, is a place where gambling takes place. It may also refer to the broader category of facilities that feature games of chance and other forms of entertainment. Casinos range in size and scope, from small halls for a few card games to massive complexes built to rival Las Vegas. Regardless of their size or locale, most casinos offer similar features. They are all designed to encourage gamblers to throw their money at the tables in hopes of winning big.

While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate themes help casinos attract visitors and draw in the big bucks, casinos would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and other games of chance are the primary sources of billions in profits raked in by casinos each year.

The large amounts of money that are handled inside casinos make them attractive targets for both patrons and employees who might be tempted to cheat, steal or scam their way into a jackpot. That’s why casinos spend so much time, effort and money on security.

While the mob once controlled many casinos, real estate investors and hotel chains with deep pockets bought them out and began to run them independently. Because they don’t have to worry about mob interference, legitimate casinos have a higher profit margin than their less-sophisticated competitors. The extra revenue a casino brings in can boost local economies in other ways, as well. For example, huge numbers of people visiting a casino will likely dine at local restaurants and shop at retail establishments.