What Is a Casino?


A casino is a building or room where gambling games are played. Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and other tourist attractions. Some are built in exotic locations such as islands and mountaintops.

A major source of revenue for many nations, casinos are large and lavish affairs. They feature a wide variety of gaming options, from traditional table games to electronic machines. Some even offer live entertainment such as musical performances or stand-up comedy.

Every game in a casino has an inherent advantage for the house, which amounts to less than two percent on the average bet. This gives the casino a virtual assurance of gross profit. In order to make the most of this edge, casinos employ elaborate security systems and perks designed to encourage patrons to spend more than they planned. Big bettors, for instance, are offered free spectacular entertainment, luxury transportation and elegant living quarters; lesser bettors get reduced-fare transportation, hotel rooms, drinks and cigarettes while they gamble, and discounted show tickets.

The bright and sometimes gaudy decorations of casino floors are intended to stimulate the senses and distract players from their financial losses. The absence of clocks on casino walls is also meant to prevent players from keeping track of the time, and red is a popular color because it is thought to increase blood flow to the brain. Some economists have argued that casinos drain money from local economies by drawing people away from other forms of leisure and business activities. In addition, studies indicate that the costs of treating problem gamblers and lost productivity from gambling addiction more than offset any positive economic impacts from casinos.