What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It may be combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, non-gambling games rooms and other tourist attractions.

The term is also used for other establishments that serve alcohol, such as bars. The largest casinos in the world are in the United States and China, with most of them offering many more things to do than just gamble. These casinos are often called megacasinos and include hotel rooms, restaurants, shopping centers, night clubs, and more.

Casinos draw in local players, who generate a much higher percentage of profits than out-of-town visitors. This makes them an important source of revenue for many rural communities. However, studies have shown that the damage caused by problem gambling more than offsets any economic gains from casinos. Gambling addiction reduces productivity, causes family problems, and even leads to bankruptcy.

In the United States, the casino industry began to expand rapidly in the 1950s. Casinos grew especially quickly in Nevada, where gambling is legal. This expansion was spurred by the popularity of television shows featuring high-stakes gamblers, and by state laws allowing residents to travel across state lines to play.

Some casinos have catwalks built into the ceiling, enabling security personnel to look down through one-way glass at the tables and slot machines below. Elaborate surveillance systems also watch every table, window and doorway and can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons by casino staff in a room filled with banks of security monitors.