What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment where people play games of chance for money. Casinos are regulated and licensed in the United States, but are not legal in many other countries. In the twentieth century, casinos gained a worldwide reputation as glamorous and exciting places to gamble and entertain.

Casinos often attract a wealthy clientele, with patrons spending enormous amounts of money. High-stakes players are encouraged to play in special rooms called high limit areas, where the bets can reach the tens of thousands of dollars. These high rollers usually make up about a quarter of a casino’s gross profits.

Most casinos offer a variety of complimentary goods and services to attract and reward high-spenders, such as free hotel rooms, meals and drinks. Lesser bettors are sometimes given complimentary tickets to shows or reduced-fare travel packages. Many casinos also have clubs that operate like airline frequent-flyer programs, allowing gamblers to accumulate points for free casino games or discounted food and drinks.

Although most casinos are designed around noise, light and excitement, some are surprisingly sophisticated in their architecture and amenities. For example, the new Casino at Monte-Carlo, a massive complex on the French Riviera in Monaco, was designed by the architect Mario Botta, who has designed other prominent buildings and churches. The casino features numerous indoor and outdoor spaces with breathtaking views of the sea and mountains. It is also home to a top-floor music hall and a seventh-floor fine dining restaurant.