What is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for gambling, a place where people risk money in games of chance or skill. A casino also offers other entertainment, such as shows and concerts. Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and cruise ships. Many states have legalized casinos in order to increase revenue from tourists, who spend money on accommodations, food, drinks, and casino games. Casinos are also an important source of employment for local residents.

The term “casino” was derived from the Latin word caza, meaning “house.” During the early 20th century, mobsters controlled most of the Nevada casinos. They used their funds from drug dealing, extortion, and other illegal rackets to fund the expansion of Reno and Las Vegas. They took sole or partial ownership of several casinos, and influenced the outcome of some games by using their muscle to threaten patrons and casino employees. Federal crackdowns and the fear of losing their gaming license at the slightest hint of mob involvement forced many casinos to become legitimate businesses run by businessmen rather than gangsters.

Modern casinos use technology to control the games and supervise gamblers. For example, betting chips with built-in microcircuitry allow them to be tracked minute by minute; roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any statistical deviations. Casinos also provide perks to encourage gamblers to spend more money. These are known as comps and can include free hotel rooms, meals, show tickets, or even limo service and airline tickets.