What Is a Casino?


A casino is a public place where people can gamble on games of chance. While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels may lure patrons in the door, casinos would not exist without games of chance such as poker, roulette, craps, blackjack and video poker that generate billions in profits for the owners. In order to make these profits, casinos must charge a fee to each player called the house edge.

Casinos also make money by offering “comps” to the highest rollers. These free items can include free hotel rooms, restaurant meals and show tickets. However, comps are not guaranteed and can be taken away from high rollers at any time if they do not meet the casino’s minimum spend requirements.

Casinos are a major source of revenue for the companies, investors and Native American tribes that operate them. They are also a source of employment and tourism for many cities and states that host them. Although legalized gambling is illegal in many areas of the world, some countries, such as China and Japan, have thriving underground gambling operations that are not connected to casinos. In the United States, casino gambling is primarily legal in Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey and some other states, on American Indian reservations and on barges and boats operating on various waterways. In addition, casino-type games are sometimes found in racetracks and at truck stops and other small businesses. Compulsive gambling is a significant problem that causes economic damage to communities, in part because it drains local spending away from other forms of entertainment and partly because it can interfere with job performance.