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What Is a Casino?

What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers games of chance and skill. Casinos range from massive resorts in Las Vegas to small card rooms and are found worldwide. They are operated by a variety of businesses, including private companies, investment firms, and Native American tribes. The casinos generate billions in revenue each year for their owners, investors, and local communities.

Successful casinos are characterized by high levels of customer service and marketing to targeted groups of gamblers. They offer perks, known as comps, to encourage gamblers to spend more money than average. These perks include discounted travel packages, free meals and drinks, and tickets to shows. Casinos are able to offer these perks because they track gamblers’ spending habits and provide data on their preferred games.

Casino security starts on the gaming floor, where employees watch the action to detect cheating and stealing. Pit bosses and table managers monitor larger amounts of money and look for betting patterns that indicate fraud. Slot machines and (since the 1980s) video poker machines are the economic mainstay of many American casinos. These generate income from high volumes of play at relatively low speed, requiring a house advantage of only 1.5 percent or less.

In Nevada, casino revenue also bolsters tourism and real estate values, but critics charge that it hurts the productivity of workers in other industries, and that the cost of treating gambling addiction cancels out any casino’s economic benefits. In addition, the mob’s involvement in casinos has tarnished gambling’s reputation and harmed community morale.