What is a Casino?

A casino, also known as a gambling house or a kasino (from the Italian word for ‘house’), is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Some casinos offer a wide variety of gambling opportunities, while others specialize in one or more specific games. In modern usage, a casino is often associated with upscale hotels and resorts, and it may be part of a larger complex that includes retail shopping, restaurants and other tourist attractions.

Casinos make money by charging a vig or a percentage of all bets placed on their tables and machines. This can be as low as two percent, but over millions of bets it adds up to substantial profits. These profits allow the casinos to finance their flamboyant architecture, fountains, towers and replicas of famous landmarks.

Modern casinos have extensive security measures, with a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department that operates the casino’s closed circuit television system. Both departments work closely together to prevent crime.

In the early days of casino gaming, organized crime financed many of the gambling houses in Nevada. As mob money dried up, legitimate businessmen with deep pockets took over, buying out the mobsters and changing the image of the business. Nowadays, mobster involvement in a casino is rare. Donald Trump and the Hilton hotel company are two examples of big money investors who have taken control of casinos without any mob interference.

The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park, with a lot of the entertainment coming from gambling. Musical shows, lighted fountains and elaborate themes help draw in the crowds, but casinos would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette and craps are just a few of the casino’s most popular games.