What is a Casino?

A casino, or gambling house, is an establishment where people can play games of chance for money or other rewards. Casinos range from massive resorts in Las Vegas to small card rooms in local bars. Those that are successful bring in billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors, and Native American tribes that own them. They also provide entertainment, jobs, and tax revenues for states and communities.

Many casinos have elaborate decor, with lighted fountains and huge chandeliers. The color red is often used, because it stimulates the senses and makes people lose track of time. Clocks are rarely displayed, because it is believed that they would distract players from making good decisions by reminding them of the time spent waiting for a result. Many casinos have a wide variety of games, including slots, table games like blackjack, and poker. They also feature non-gambling attractions, such as restaurants, hotels, and spas.

In the 1950s, Las Vegas began to attract organized crime families with deep pockets and a desire for a new source of income. Mobster money provided the funds to build casinos, and they took sole or partial ownership of some. Federal crackdowns and the fear of losing a gaming license at even the hint of mob involvement soon drove the mobsters out of the business.

Modern casinos use technology to monitor the games and prevent cheating. For example, in some casinos betting chips have built-in microcircuitry that allows security personnel to see how much money is being wagered minute by minute; roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly for statistical deviations. Security cameras in the ceiling above the tables allow surveillance staff to watch players through one-way glass.