What Is a Casino?


A casino, which may also refer to a collection of gambling rooms or halls, is an establishment that offers games of chance for money. Casinos are found worldwide and in every country where gambling is legal, although some states prohibit gaming or have strict rules. A famous example is the Monte Carlo casino in Monaco, which was opened in 1863. The casino industry expanded in the 1980s, with casinos appearing in Atlantic City, New Jersey; on American Indian reservations that are exempt from state antigambling laws; and in Las Vegas and other locations in the United States.

Although casinos rely on musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels to lure visitors, they would not exist without the billions of dollars in profits raked in by gambling and other games of chance. Blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and slot machines account for most of the billions in revenue that casinos generate each year.

Casinos have become more sophisticated and technologically advanced in recent years. They use video cameras and computer systems to monitor the games themselves, ensuring that each game is conducted fairly. For instance, some casinos employ “chip tracking,” which allows the casino to oversee each chip’s movements minute by minute; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly for statistical deviations from expected results.

As for the dark side, casinos are often linked to organized crime figures and have a reputation for being seedy and dangerous. In the past, mobster money flowed into casinos in Nevada and elsewhere, providing the bankroll that allowed owners to spend millions on elaborate hotels, restaurants and fountains.