What is a Casino?

A Casino is a place that offers gambling. Some casinos add a variety of other features to appeal to different types of guests, including restaurants, non-gambling games, hotels and other amenities. Casinos may also offer a variety of entertainment such as stage shows and dramatic scenery. Casinos have been in existence for centuries, although their precise origin is unknown.

Modern casinos are massive, multi-level buildings with an astounding number of games and impressive decor. Many have hotels, restaurants and non-gambling activities such as shopping and swimming pools to attract visitors.

Patrons can gamble on a wide range of games within a casino, but the most popular are blackjack and roulette. Poker, baccarat, and trente et quarante are other common casino games. Many casinos are based on Far Eastern traditions and offer traditional games such as sic bo, fan-tan, and pai gow.

Because large amounts of money are handled within a casino, security is an important aspect of casino operations. Employees on the floor of a casino watch patrons closely for signs of cheating, such as palming or marking cards or dice. Pit bosses and table managers supervise the tables with a broader view, watching for betting patterns that might indicate collusion among players or a hot hand. Computer systems allow the casino to oversee the exact amount wagered minute by minute and quickly discover any anomalies.

Casinos are often a favorite playground for organized crime figures, who use them to launder the proceeds of their drug dealing and extortion rackets. Mob involvement in casinos has led to federal crackdowns and the loss of licenses for many businesses. Casinos have grown to become a major source of income for some countries, and their popularity is increasing worldwide.