What Is a Casino?


A casino is a facility for playing games of chance. Although lighted fountains, shopping centers and musical shows help lure customers, casinos would not exist without games of chance such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat. Those games are what generate the billions of dollars in profits that casinos rake in every year.

A major source of profit is the house advantage, which is built into each game offered by a casino. This advantage can be very small, lower than two percent, but it adds up over the millions of bets made by casino patrons every day. Casinos are also able to make money from non-gambling operations, such as hotels and restaurants.

Many casinos are large and lavish, with an emphasis on glitz and glamour. The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, for example, offers a nightclub with columns that project live video and 21 miles of crystal beads, a visually stimulating Marquee Bar, and swank residential-style rooms. Other casinos are smaller and more intimate.

Many states have legalized casinos, but most of them are located in Nevada. Casinos are a huge draw for people from all over the world, especially when they are located in the Las Vegas area. However, a growing number of economic studies indicate that gambling actually drains local economies. The costs of treating compulsive gamblers and lost productivity due to their addiction can reverse any gains that casinos might bring to a community.