What Is a Casino?


A casino, also known as a gambling house or a gaming establishment, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos offer a wide range of games, including slot machines, table games and more. They often combine gambling with other entertainment and/or tourist attractions. A number of cities in the United States have casinos. Casinos are usually located in or near hotels, cruise ships, retail shops and other attractions. Some casinos specialize in one or more particular games or themes.

A few states have banned gambling, but most regulate it to some extent. Many casinos are located on Indian reservations and are not subject to state anti-gambling laws. The casino industry has spread worldwide. In the 1980s, Atlantic City began attracting tourists from across the United States, and Iowa legalized riverboat casinos. In addition, casinos have become increasingly technologically advanced, and use high-tech surveillance systems to prevent cheating and other crimes. For example, chips with built-in microcircuitry interact with casino systems to monitor the amounts wagered minute by minute; roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any statistical deviations from expected results.

The primary purpose of a casino is to attract customers and keep them coming back. Musical shows, lighted fountains and themed architecture all serve this purpose, but the billions in profits from games of chance such as blackjack, poker and craps are what really bring in the dough. Some economists argue that the net economic benefit to a community from casinos is negative, due to shifts in spending on local entertainment and lost productivity from gambling addicts.