What is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people can gamble on games of chance. Casinos can be massive resorts with luxurious facilities, or they can be small card rooms in bars and restaurants. In the United States, casinos operate in cities and towns, on Indian reservations, at racetracks with slot machines, and on cruise ships. Casinos are regulated by state and local governments, and they provide billions of dollars in revenue each year for the companies, investors, and Native American tribes that own them.

In the twenty-first century, casinos are choosier about which patrons they accept. Typically, they offer big bettors extravagant inducements to gamble, such as free spectacular entertainment, luxury hotel living quarters, reduced-fare transportation, and special access to gambling tables and slot machines. Because every game has a mathematical expectancy of winning, it is extremely rare for a casino to lose money on any particular game.

Historically, casinos were owned by mobster gangs that controlled the operations from behind the scenes. When real estate developers and hotel chains gained control of the business, they eliminated the mob influence and ran the casinos as legitimate businesses. However, many critics contend that casino profits shift spending away from other local entertainment and that the cost of treating compulsive gambling offsets any economic gains a casino might generate. They also contend that the casino industry is a major contributor to crime and addiction. These arguments have prompted some politicians to oppose legalized casinos.