A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and other tourist attractions. Casinos earn billions of dollars each year for their owners, investors, and shareholders. In addition, they generate significant tax revenue for the states and local governments in which they operate.
Gambling in some form has existed in nearly every society throughout history, from Mesopotamia and ancient Greece to Elizabethan England and Napoleon’s France. However, the growth of casinos as a legal industry was impeded for decades by laws and social attitudes that made it difficult for legitimate businesses to enter the market.
Casinos make money by charging patrons for admission and taking a percentage of their bets, called a “vig” or a “rake.” They also collect fees from slot machines and video poker. Some casinos offer complimentary items or “comps” to gamblers, and some even sell food.
In the United States, there are more than 1,000 casinos. Most are located in cities or towns whose economies depend heavily on tourism, such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City. However, they are also found in suburban communities and rural areas as well as on cruise ships and in racinos at racetracks. In all, they provide jobs for about 1.25 million people. Due to the large amounts of money involved, casinos are frequently the target of cheating and theft by both patrons and employees. To combat these dangers, casinos use a variety of security measures, including cameras.