What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment that offers patrons the opportunity to gamble for money. Casinos usually feature table games like blackjack, poker and roulette, as well as slot machines. They may also contain other activities, such as restaurants and entertainment. Casinos are often located in or combined with hotels, retail shopping, cruise ships and other tourist attractions.

A modern casino has sophisticated security measures in place to protect its guests and property. These measures include a physical security force that patrols the casino and responds to calls for assistance or suspicious activity, and a specialized surveillance department that operates a closed circuit television system known in the industry as the “eye-in-the-sky.” The eye-in-the-sky system allows security personnel to watch every table, change window and doorway from a control room filled with banks of security monitors.

Successful casinos generate billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors and Native American tribes that own and operate them. They also pay millions of dollars in taxes, fees and other payments to state and local governments.

Historically, mobster involvement in casinos was common, but federal crackdowns and the fear of losing a casino license at even the hint of mafia influence have kept the mob out of the business for the most part. In the twenty-first century, casinos are focusing more and more of their investments on high-stakes players. These gamblers are rewarded with extravagant inducements like free spectacular entertainment, luxury hotel rooms and transportation, reduced-fare food and drinks while they’re gambling, and even cash back on losses.