What is a Casino?


A casino is a room or building where games of chance and gambling are played. It may be a large entertainment complex with restaurants, free drinks and stage shows or it may be a smaller establishment that focuses solely on the types of gambling available. Regardless of their size or location, casinos are in the business of making money and successful ones rake in billions each year for their owners, investors and corporate sponsors. They also impose a considerable burden on local economies in the form of taxes and other fees.

The exact origins of gambling are unknown, but the first casinos probably developed from taverns and other public houses where people would gather to play dice, cards or other games of chance for cash prizes. The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, and its attractions include lighted fountains, lavish hotels and rooms, elaborate stage shows and of course, gaming tables.

Casinos go to great lengths to attract and keep patrons, spending millions on research to determine what colors, sounds and scents appeal most to gamblers. They also invest heavily in security, with a special emphasis on the prevention of cheating and stealing. In addition to manned security stations on the floor, most casinos use cameras and other sophisticated surveillance equipment to monitor and record patron activities.

In a survey conducted by Gemini Research for the Nevada Department of Human Resources, a majority of respondents who acknowledged participation in casino gambling chose slot machines as their favorite game. Card games ranked second, followed by table games such as blackjack and poker. Other games, including keno and bingo, were far less popular with only 6% of respondents selecting them as their favorite games.

Something about gambling seems to encourage people to try and steal or cheat their way to the jackpot. A casino’s glitzy appearance and the prospect of winning big encourages this type of behavior and that is why casinos devote so much time and effort to security. Most casinos have a security staff that consists of armed guards on the floor and supervisory personnel in a separate room filled with banks of television monitors.

While the glitz of a casino can be distracting, most people who gamble do so with friends and family or as part of organized groups. Many people find the social interaction and comradery of casino gambling to be very appealing. In fact, according to a survey by the American Gaming Association in 2002, 92% of people who go to casinos do so with their friends and family or as part of an organized group. This social aspect is one of the reasons why casino gambling remains so popular and has contributed to its continued growth in popularity despite the rise in Internet gambling sites. A good number of these websites offer similar games and betting options to those offered in a casino, but they do not offer the physical and social interaction that many casino gamblers desire.