What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment that offers various kinds of gambling activities. Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. They are also known for hosting live entertainment such as stand-up comedy, concerts and sports events. Besides these, casinos are famous for their luxurious amenities and high-end customer services. Some of them offer free drinks and snacks to their customers. Some even have a separate room for high-rollers where they can enjoy more private gaming sessions.

Although gambling probably predates recorded history, the modern casino as an entertainment venue did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. This is when mobsters built up enormous fortunes, and they were generally not bothered by the laws of the land. Later, real estate investors and hotel chains bought out the mob, and casinos became a legitimate business. But the social costs – addiction, criminal behavior and lost productivity – offset any economic gains.

The casino industry is regulated by both federal and state governments. Casinos must be licensed and the owners of each casino are required to maintain a set percentage of their gross revenue as net profit. They also must invest a significant amount of money in security. Because of the large amounts of cash that change hands, patrons and employees are tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. Security measures start on the casino floor, where security personnel keep an eye out for blatantly obvious cheating such as palming or marking cards. Table managers and pit bosses watch over the tables with a wider perspective, and keep track of betting patterns that might indicate cheating.