What Is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Typically, casinos are combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and other tourist attractions. Some casinos feature live entertainment.

Casinos generate a large portion of their profits from gambling, but they also derive a significant amount of revenue from other sources. Musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and hotel rooms all contribute to their bottom lines, but casinos would not exist without the games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and other table games provide the billions of dollars in profits that casinos rake in every year.

While some people are tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with other patrons or alone, most casinos have security measures to deter this behavior. A basic measure is video surveillance. The most sophisticated casinos use cameras positioned throughout the casino floor, on the ceilings and in windows, which can be monitored by security personnel. Some even have catwalks over the tables, so security can watch the activity of the casino from a room filled with banks of video monitors.

The high rollers in a casino bring in a disproportionate share of the profits. As a result, they are treated to extravagant inducements, such as free spectacular entertainment and transportation, luxury suites, and lavish personal attention. Critics of casinos argue that the money they bring in hurts local businesses and residents because gamblers often spend less than they would on other entertainment. They also point to studies that show the cost of treating compulsive gamblers and lost productivity from their addiction as a major drain on a community’s economy.