What Is a Casino?


A casino, also known as a gambling house or gaming room, is an establishment where people can gamble by playing games of chance or skill. Casinos are most often found in cities with legalized gambling and can be combined with hotels, restaurants, shops, and other entertainment venues. In some countries, casinos are owned by governments or religious organizations and are operated as a public trust.

The mobsters brought the money to Reno and Las Vegas, but they weren’t content to leave it there. They became heavily involved in the operations, taking sole or partial ownership of some casinos and influencing their outcome. Federal crackdowns and the possibility of losing a casino license at even the hint of mob involvement eventually drove the mobsters out of Nevada, but they continued to fund casinos elsewhere.

In addition to the blatant cheating that happens at card tables, casinos employ a variety of more subtle methods to keep their patrons honest. The patterns of game play follow certain predictable routines, and security personnel are trained to spot anything that deviates from those expected patterns. Casinos are also equipped with elaborate surveillance systems that provide an eye-in-the-sky view of the entire casino floor at all times, and are able to zoom in on specific suspicious patrons.

In addition to standard table games like blackjack, roulette, and craps, many casinos offer far Eastern games such as sic bo (which spread to American casinos during the 1990s), fan-tan, and pai gow. They may also feature regional variations of poker, including Caribbean stud and seven-card stud.