What is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for gambling. It is often combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shopping and other entertainment. While musical shows, lighted fountains and lavish hotels help draw customers, the vast majority of casino profits come from games of chance, such as slot machines, blackjack, craps, roulette and baccarat.

Despite being illegal for most of the nation’s history, casino gambling flourished in Nevada. Mob figures poured in money and even took sole or partial ownership of some casinos. Legitimate businessmen were unwilling to become involved in the tainted business because of its seamy reputation. It was not until the late 1950s that more legitimate investors became interested in casinos, which had become a huge source of income for organized crime families.

Many casinos use bright and sometimes gaudy floor and wall coverings, because they are believed to stimulate and cheer gamblers and make them lose track of time. Often, there are no clocks on the walls or in the rooms. Some casinos are decorated in red, because it is thought to be the color that attracts compulsive gamblers. Ask a casino employee for tips about where to find the hot machines, but be aware that it may be against company policy to pass such information along. Also, casinos monitor their patrons and are quick to punish anyone who is suspected of cheating. High rollers, in particular, are watched very closely; they are given free hotel rooms, dinners, tickets to shows and limo service. They gamble in special rooms, separate from the main casino floor, where their bets can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.