What Is a Casino?


A casino is an entertainment venue that has gambling games and offers a variety of entertainment options, such as concerts and shows. It is also known for its restaurants, bars, shops and other amenities. Successful casinos bring in billions of dollars each year, benefiting corporations, investors, tribes and local governments. While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate hotels help draw in customers, the casino business would not exist without the games of chance that make it all possible. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat are among the most popular casino games.

The precise origins of casino are obscure, but the game has a long history and can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome and Elizabethan England. Gambling has been made legal in some form in many countries and cultures. Today, casinos are built in conjunction with hotels and resorts or in stand-alone buildings. The modern casino is often a massive complex that includes numerous gaming tables and several hundred or more slot machines. It may feature a large main room with multiple game tables, a large screen TV and a bar. Some are integrated into theme parks or other attractions, while others are located on cruise ships and in cities and towns around the world.

In the United States, casinos are operated by state-licensed businesses. A license to operate a casino requires meeting minimum capital requirements, providing adequate security and maintaining an acceptable level of customer service. Casinos must comply with state and federal laws that govern gambling.

Casinos must also pay taxes on the profits they earn. Taxes vary by jurisdiction, but typically include a sales and use tax, an occupancy tax and a hotel/casino tax. Many state-licensed casinos are also required to meet certain environmental requirements.

To prevent cheating, casinos employ a wide range of security measures. Besides the employees on the floor, casino games are monitored by surveillance systems that provide a high-tech “eye in the sky.” Cameras mounted on the ceiling monitor every table and change window. The cameras can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of security monitors.

While a casino may offer a number of gambling games, it usually specializes in one or two of them. Generally, a casino will focus on the games most popular in its region. For example, a Las Vegas casino will concentrate on games such as blackjack and poker. Likewise, a European-style casino will emphasize games such as baccarat, chemin de fer and trente et quarante.

The casino industry is booming and many Americans enjoy visiting these entertainment establishments. In 2005, the average casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old woman with above-average income from a household that included at least two adults. According to the Roper Reports GfK NOP, the average casino gambler was female with a college degree. Those with a high school diploma or less were the second largest group of casino visitors.