What Is a Casino?


When most people hear the word casino, they think of a giant resort in Las Vegas, a pulsing center of glitz and glamour. However, the word’s meaning is actually much broader than that. According to Merriam-Webster, a casino is “a building or room used for social amusements, specifically gambling.”

Casinos are in business to make money, just like any other business in a capitalist society. They rake in billions each year for the companies, investors, and Native American tribes that own them. In addition, they earn revenue from the gambling itself: from table games such as baccarat and blackjack; video poker machines; and pari-mutuel betting on horse races and other events.

Using technology, casinos closely monitor game outcomes and ensure that all players are adhering to rules and regulations. For example, some tables use electronic systems that enable them to oversee all bets placed minute by minute and alert managers if there is an anomaly in the game’s expected return. In addition, casino security is typically divided between a physical force that patrols the premises and a specialized department that runs closed-circuit television cameras.

To encourage gamblers to stay longer and play more often, casinos offer them a variety of incentives. These include free rooms, hotel service, spas, restaurants and entertainment acts. In a recent survey, the majority of respondents who admitted to gambling said that slot machines were their favorite casino activity. Card games (such as blackjack and poker) and wagering on sporting/racing events ranked next.