What Is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment that offers gambling. Most casinos specialize in card games like blackjack, baccarat, roulette and craps, although there are also slot machines, video poker and other games of chance. Casinos attract customers with elaborate themes, dazzling lights and musical shows, but they would not exist without games of chance. Gambling, either at the tables or on the slots, generates billions of dollars in profits for the casinos each year.

Because there is a high amount of money handled within a casino, it is easy for patrons and employees to cheat and steal, either in collusion or independently. Because of this, casinos spend a large amount of time and money on security measures. Security cameras and personnel monitor casino activities throughout the day, and table managers and pit bosses have a full view of casino patrons to make sure they are not stealing chips or cards or engaging in other types of cheating.

In the United States, casinos grew rapidly after Nevada legalized gambling in 1931. During the 1980s and 1990s many American states amended their laws to permit casino gambling, including casinos on Indian reservations and riverboats. There are now thousands of casinos around the world, from Las Vegas and Atlantic City to Macau in East Asia. Casinos are often decorated in bright colors, such as red, to stimulate the senses and encourage gambling. Clocks are usually absent from casino walls, as they are believed to distract gamblers from realizing how long they have spent on the gambling floor.