What Is a Casino?


A casino, also known as a gambling house, is an establishment that allows patrons to wager money or other items of value on games of chance. Generally, these are card and table games such as blackjack, poker, roulette, craps, and baccarat. A casino may also offer other entertainment such as shows, concerts, and sporting events. In some countries, casinos are licensed and regulated by the government. These casinos are often located near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, and cruise ships.

Modern casinos are like indoor amusement parks for adults, and while musical shows, lighted fountains, and elaborate themes help draw in the crowds, the vast majority of casino profits come from games of chance. Slot machines, roulette, craps, baccarat, and other games of chance generate the billions in profit that casino owners rake in every year.

In the United States, where casino gambling is legal, casinos are most often found in Nevada and Atlantic City. New Jersey and Iowa have also legalized casinos, and many Native American tribes operate gaming facilities on their lands. Casinos are also popular in other parts of the world, such as Macau, which has become a major global casino destination and is sometimes called the Las Vegas of the East.

Most people who visit casinos are not professional gamblers, but average consumers who enjoy the excitement and camaraderie of crowded game tables. According to Harrah’s Entertainment, in 2005 the typical casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with above-average income. People from lower-income households also enjoy visiting casinos, but they make up a smaller percentage of the total market.