What Is a Casino?

A casino, also known as a gambling house or a gaming palace, is an establishment that offers various types of gambling. The games played in casinos are governed by laws regulating the industry. Casinos are usually located near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and other tourist attractions.

Successful casinos take in billions of dollars each year, making them a huge revenue source for the corporations, investors and Native American tribes that own and operate them. State and local governments also reap substantial revenues through taxes, fees and payments for services provided to casino patrons. In addition to the traditional table and slot machines, many casinos feature poker games and sports betting.

Modern casinos are designed to attract customers through noise, light and color. They use a variety of floor and wall coverings that are bright and sometimes gaudy, with colors such as red, which is believed to make people lose track of time. They offer free drinks, and gamblers shout encouragement to one another as they play.

In the United States, most casinos are operated by large companies that own or lease their land and buildings. In some cases, the company also operates the casino’s hotel. In the past, many casinos were run by organized crime figures. Mob money kept Reno and Las Vegas casinos open, but it took years for the industry to spread beyond Nevada. Today, real estate investors and major hotel chains are the main owners of casinos, and federal crackdowns have helped to tame mob influence.