What is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people gamble on games of chance or, in some cases, skill. Its amenities include restaurants, bars, hotels and live entertainment.

Gambling has been part of human society throughout history. It has a reputation for glamour and decadence, reflected in film and literature with images of high-stakes gambling tables surrounded by an elite group of tuxedoed players. But beneath the flashing lights and free cocktails, casinos are mathematically engineered to slowly bleed patrons of their cash.

Casinos maximize their profits by concentrating their investments on “high rollers.” These gamblers are not only willing to wager large amounts of money, but also can afford to do so for extended periods of time. For this reason, they are rewarded with perks such as free hotel rooms, meals and tickets to shows. High rollers are usually tracked by a special card that allows casino personnel to monitor their play and identify patterns.

The mob once controlled much of the casino industry in Nevada, particularly in Reno and Las Vegas. However, when real estate investors and hotel chains got wind of the profits they could make from gambling, they began buying out mob-owned casinos. The mob’s inability to control the casinos they once owned, plus federal crackdowns on even the slightest hint of mafia involvement, has forced mobsters out of the business. Today, casino gambling is largely run by investment banks and is legal in most American states, except for those on Indian reservations, which are exempt from state antigambling laws.