What Is a Casino?



Casino, also known as a gambling house or a gaming hall, is an establishment where people can gamble. The games played in a casino include slots, video poker, baccarat, blackjack, roulette and craps. Casinos earn billions of dollars each year from the millions of bets placed by patrons. The house advantage in casino gambling is usually lower than two percent, but it adds up over time. In addition to gambling, casinos feature restaurants, hotels and shopping centers.

Casinos are largely a social experience, and their atmosphere is designed around noise, light and excitement. They often use bright, gaudy colors to stimulate the senses and distract patrons from the fact that they are losing money. Many casinos don’t even put clocks on their walls because they want patrons to lose track of time and stay longer.

In the past, organized crime figures provided much of the money for casino operations. Mobster bankrolls helped casino owners build lavish hotels, fountains and replicas of landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Great Pyramids of Egypt. But federal crackdowns and the prospect of losing a license at any hint of mafia involvement forced many casino operators to distance themselves from the gangsters.

Today, the average casino patron is a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with above-average income. Despite their elitist reputation, casinos are popular with people from all walks of life who enjoy the glamour and excitement of the games. Casinos also attract high rollers, or gamblers who make substantial bets. These gamblers typically stay in special rooms and are given complimentary items or comps to encourage them to continue gambling.