What Is a Casino?


A casino is a building where people can gamble and play games of chance. The word may also refer to the games themselves, especially those with an element of skill, such as blackjack and video poker. Casinos often offer perks to their customers, such as free food and drinks. They may also have entertainment on the premises, such as a stage show or a live band.

In the past, many casinos were run by mobsters. However, real estate investors and hotel chains got in on the action, bought out the mobsters, and started running legitimate casinos without mob interference. Federal crackdowns and the risk of losing a gambling license at even the slightest hint of mob involvement further discourage mafia involvement in casinos.

Because so much money is handled in a casino, it can be tempting for both patrons and staff to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. For this reason, casinos spend a great deal of time and money on security. Casino security personnel patrol the floor and monitor surveillance cameras. In addition, the routines and patterns of games (such as how dealers shuffle and deal cards and where players place their bets on a table) make it easier for security to spot unusual behavior.

Some casinos use bright, sometimes gaudy floor and wall coverings to stimulate the senses and encourage gamblers to keep spending money. In fact, some casinos don’t have clocks on the walls because they want their patrons to lose track of time.