What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment where gambling is legal and where games of chance are played. It may also refer to a group of gaming rooms in a particular building. Casinos are sometimes combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops and other tourist attractions. In the past, casinos were a staple of organized crime and were often linked with gangsters and illegal rackets. However, legalized casino gaming has helped reduce that association.

In the United States, a casino is a business that is licensed and regulated by state gaming control boards. In addition, most states require casino owners to employ professional gaming mathematicians and analysts to help them understand the house edge and variance of their games. This data is used to create strategies that maximize profits while keeping players away from the “slow hands.”

The Bellagio in Las Vegas was once a casino for European royalty and aristocrats. Its elegant architecture and lavish perks (floor shows, golf courses and Hermes and Chanel boutiques) make it one of the world’s most famous casinos. The movie Ocean’s 11 further boosted its reputation and made it a popular destination for tourists and high-stakes gamblers.

In 2005, the typical casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with above average income. Those who regularly play in a casino can expect to receive comps — free drinks while they gamble, discounts on hotel rooms and meals, and even complimentary airfare or hotel stays for high rollers.