What is a Casino?

The word Casino evokes images of flashing lights, noise and excitement. It’s an adult’s version of an indoor amusement park and it is a business that brings in billions of dollars annually. The casino’s profits are primarily from gambling, but they also draw in visitors to shop, dine and see live entertainment. Casinos have become a tourist attraction and a centerpiece of many cities.

While casinos feature a variety of attractions like musical shows, lighted fountains and lavish hotels, they would not survive without games of chance such as roulette, blackjack, poker and craps. Every game has a built in statistical advantage for the casino, which can be very small, but add up over millions of bets to generate huge profits that allow them to build lavish hotel towers, giant pyramids and statues.

In the early years of Las Vegas and Reno, casino gambling was bankrolled by organized crime figures. Mob money gave the casinos a smoky reputation and made them difficult to legitimize, but real estate investors and hotel chains saw the potential for a new source of revenue. They bought out the mobsters and established legitimate businesses.

Because of the large amounts of cash handled, casino patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal. To protect their assets, most casinos have security measures in place. These include cameras, security personnel and vaults to hold winnings. In addition, some casinos have catwalks in the ceiling above the casino floor that allow surveillance personnel to look down through one-way glass directly onto tables and slot machines.