What Is a Casino?


A casino, also known as a gambling house or gaming establishment, is a place where people can gamble on games of chance or skill. Many casinos are combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping or other tourist attractions. Some casinos are operated by governmental bodies while others are owned and operated by private corporations. In the United States, most states regulate the operations of casinos.

Most casino games are based on luck, although some involve skill. In addition to traditional card and table games, some casinos offer sports betting, horse racing, and even bingo. Most modern casinos feature video poker, and a large number of slot machines. Many also offer video keno.

In the United States, casinos are often located in cities with large populations or on Native American reservations. The first legal casino opened in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1978, and since then, more than 3,000 have been built worldwide. In Europe, a growing number of countries amended their laws in the 1980s to permit casino gambling, either on licensed riverboats or on land.

Casinos make much of their profits from high-stakes gamblers, and they encourage these patrons with free or reduced-fare transportation, luxury living quarters, free shows and meals, and other inducements. The term “complimentary” is used to describe these perks, but casino patrons are often paid only a small percentage of the money that they bet.

Some casinos are very secure, with catwalks in the ceiling that allow surveillance personnel to look down on players. Security measures include the use of closed circuit television and other electronic monitoring systems. Many casinos also have security staff that is able to spot irregular behavior by its smell, sight, or sound.