What is a Casino?

A casino is a facility where people can gamble, play games and bet money on sports events. It is also an entertainment attraction, with musical shows, lighted fountains and elaborate hotels. But most of the billions in profits raked in by casinos each year come from gambling. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and other table and floor games provide the heart of casino profits.

Something about gambling draws out the worst in people. Cheating, stealing and scamming are common, and casinos spend a lot of money on security. They use cameras and catwalks to watch the tables and slot machines, and have high-tech security measures like a “no-go zone” for suspicious guests. Some casinos even have a special room where the highest-stakes gamblers are kept, away from the main floor, where their bets can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars. High rollers are rewarded with comps—free goods and services—like free hotel rooms, meals, tickets to shows and limo service.

Casinos have a long history in the United States, although they were often illegal until recently. Nevada was the first state to legalize and promote them, but they spread quickly as other states jumped on the bandwagon. Today, the United States has over 1,000 casinos, with more on the way as states legalize them to attract tourists. Most casinos are open 24/7 and are located near or combined with other tourist attractions like hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, theme parks and cruise ships.