What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for gambling. It may offer a variety of games, including poker, blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat. Some casinos also feature restaurants, shows and other entertainment. In some countries, casinos are licensed by government agencies to conduct gambling activities. In the United States, casinos are regulated by state law and most operate under the jurisdiction of local gambling control boards. In addition, the Federal Government regulates some aspects of casino operation.

In its modern form, a casino is an enormous building that houses multiple gambling establishments. Its floors are crowded with tables and slot machines, and its walls and ceilings are decorated in flashy, glitzy graphics. In some casinos, a giant LED dome covers the main entrance, creating an impressive spectacle.

The casino industry is lucrative and growing rapidly. In the United States, there are now over 40 states with legalized casino gambling. Las Vegas is the world’s premier gaming destination and a major tourist attraction, with visitors spending billions of dollars each year. The city is also famous for its shopping, nightlife and entertainment venues.

Despite their glamorous appearance, casinos are not without their problems. In addition to the obvious problem of addiction, gambling is expensive for society, with studies showing that it shifts money from other forms of leisure and generates little net social value. Local economies are also hurt by the drain of casino revenues. Gambling addicts are known to generate a disproportionate share of casino profits and many argue that the social costs of this behavior should be considered when determining whether to allow casinos in a community.

Another concern of casinos is the risk of cheating and stealing by patrons and staff. The large amount of cash handled within a casino makes it vulnerable to counterfeiters and dishonest employees. To counter these dangers, most casinos employ a variety of security measures. These include cameras that monitor all areas of the casino, as well as specialized security technologies such as “chip tracking” for betting chips with built-in microcircuitry that interact with electronic systems to enable casinos to oversee wagers minute-by-minute and detect any statistical deviations.

During the Mob’s heyday in Reno and Las Vegas, organized crime figures put up the capital for casino construction and operated them with virtual impunity. However, legitimate businessmen with deep pockets realized that they could make more profit from casinos than the Mafia did. These new investors bought out the mobsters and took sole or partial ownership of many casinos. The threat of losing a license at the slightest whiff of Mob involvement now keeps mob influence out of the legitimate casino business.