What Is a Casino?


A casino is a building or room used for social amusements, especially gambling. In the United States, the term is almost always associated with Las Vegas-style megaresorts whose architectural design is based on glitz and glamour. In fact, the word casino is a Latin word meaning “house of games.”

Many casinos specialize in particular types of gambling. For example, baccarat is the principal game in European casinos frequented by British people, while blackjack and trente et quarante are popular in American casinos. Some casinos also feature traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo, fan-tan, and pai gow.

Casinos attract gamblers by creating an environment that is stimulating to the senses and by offering perks designed to induce them to spend more money than they plan on. For example, a large portion of casino profits come from high rollers who play in special rooms away from the main gambling floor and can bet sums as high as tens of thousands of dollars. These high-stakes gamblers are given a wide range of special inducements, including free spectacular entertainment, limousine service, and elegant living quarters.

Although casinos rely on noise, light, and excitement to keep patrons gambling, they are actually businesses that must earn a profit in order to survive. Successful casinos rake in billions of dollars each year for the companies, corporations, investors, and Native American tribes that own them. They also make considerable contributions to local and state governments in the form of taxes, fees, and other payments.