What is a Casino?


A casino is a building where a variety of games of chance are offered and gambling is the primary activity. It may add luxuries such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows to attract gamblers, but the basic idea is the same. It can also refer to a group of casinos located in the same place, such as the famed Monte-Carlo.

The early history of casinos was marked by mob control. Mafia members had oodles of money and no problem with gambling’s seamy image, so they pumped funds into Reno and Las Vegas to lure in Americans from all over the country. When mob ownership began to wane, real estate investors and hotel chains realized they could run casinos without the mob’s interference. With the threat of losing a gaming license at even the hint of Mafia involvement, legitimate businesses have kept mob influence at bay.

Due to the large amount of money handled, casinos spend a lot of time and money on security. Security begins on the casino floor, where employees watch patrons closely to spot blatant cheating or stealing. Dealers are trained to notice if a player is palming cards or marking dice. Pit bosses and managers watch over table games with a broader view, making sure nobody is taking chips from other players or changing the order of the betting pattern.

Most of the casinos’ profits come from a small percentage of people who bet much more than the average. To encourage these big bettors to gamble, they receive a variety of comps such as free show tickets and discounted travel packages.