What Is a Casino?


A casino is a special establishment that offers immersive gambling entertainment. The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, with slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat providing the bulk of the billions in profits raked in by casinos each year.

A small percentage of the money bet by casino patrons is lost to house advantage, which may be as low as two percent or as high as 20 percent, depending on the game and the rules established by the casino. The house also collects a percentage of the money wagered on video poker and in games where patrons play against each other, such as poker, by taking a cut of the pot or charging an hourly fee. In addition, the casino often gives out complimentary items or comps to players, especially those who gamble for long periods of time and/or spend large amounts of money.

When Nevada legalized gambling in the 1930s, developers realized that it could attract visitors from all over the United States and the world, making casino destinations like Las Vegas, Reno and Atlantic City tourist attractions. Many people still consider casinos to be a destination of choice for vacationers, and many state governments have established laws to promote and protect the industry. But economic studies show that casinos bring a net negative economic impact to the communities where they are located, due largely to a shift in spending from other forms of local entertainment and the cost of treating compulsive gamblers.