What Is a Casino?


A casino is a place that offers games of chance, or gambling, to its patrons. It may add stage shows, restaurants and shopping centers to attract visitors, but casinos would not exist without games of chance – slot machines, blackjack, roulette and poker generate the billions in profits that keep the casino industry going.

Casinos typically have a physical security force to patrol the facility and respond to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. A specialized surveillance department operates the closed-circuit television system known as the “eye in the sky.”

In addition to security personnel, most casinos have rules and regulations that prohibit cheating or stealing by patrons. Casinos spend a large amount of time, money and effort on security. Nevertheless, something about gambling (perhaps the presence of huge amounts of money) seems to encourage people to cheat, steal or lie their way into winning a jackpot.

Throughout the world, casinos are located in some of the most elegant and luxurious locales. Some, like the one in the famous spa town of Baden-Baden, began attracting royalty and European aristocracy 150 years ago, while others, such as the Bellagio in Las Vegas, became known around the globe after being featured in the movie Ocean’s 11. In the United States, casinos have become more widespread since the 1980s, when many American states amended their antigambling laws to permit them. While the economic benefits of casinos are considerable, their effect on local economies is mixed. Compulsive gamblers drain resources from the economy, and their lost productivity offsets any economic gains.