What Is a Casino?


A casino is a building where people can gamble and play games of chance. Modern casinos are like indoor amusement parks for adults, with music, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate themes. But they would not exist without games of chance, which provide the billions in profits that bring in visitors from around the world. The most popular games include blackjack, roulette, craps and poker. Some casinos even have keno or baccarat.

Gambling is often illegal, but many countries change their laws to allow casinos. In the United States, gambling is legal in Nevada and Atlantic City, and some Native American tribes have casinos. Casino-type game machines are also found in racetracks, and on boats and barges along waterways. Casinos generate billions of dollars each year for companies, investors and Native American tribes, as well as for the state and local governments that tax them.

The most famous casino is probably the Bellagio in Las Vegas, which has featured in countless movies and is regarded as one of the most beautiful casinos in the world. But the Bellagio is not alone; other famous casinos include the Monte Carlo in Monaco, the Casino de Paris in France, and the elegant spa town of Baden-Baden in Germany.

Many people believe that gambling is addictive, and it may be. Whether people lose or win, they tend to keep betting and spending. Some people become so addicted to gambling that they are willing to risk their life savings. However, most people who gamble do not become addicted.

Besides gambling, casinos usually have restaurants and bars where people can enjoy food and drinks. They may also have nightclubs and other entertainment venues. Some casinos offer free drinks to players, and others sell alcoholic beverages. Some casinos also have high-tech surveillance systems that allow security personnel to monitor every corner of the casino via an “eye in the sky” system.

Some casinos concentrate on attracting high rollers, or gamblers who spend large sums of money. These high-stakes gamblers are sometimes given special rooms with private dealers and other amenities, and they can receive comps such as free hotel rooms, dinners, show tickets or even airline tickets if they gamble enough.

A casino’s security is usually divided into two departments. The physical security department patrols the casino and responds to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. The specialized surveillance department operates the casino’s closed circuit television, or CCTV, system. The cameras are often set up to focus on specific suspicious patrons, and can be adjusted by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of video screens. The surveillance system is usually monitored by security officers at all times, and the guards may be armed. In addition to the surveillance system, most casinos have a staff of employees who are trained to spot suspicious activities and deal with them appropriately. This prevents crime from occurring in the first place, or at least reduces its impact on the casino.