What Is a Casino?

A casino is a building or room in which gambling games are played. It may also refer to a business that sells gambling supplies or services. Many casinos are built as standalone businesses, while others are part of or combined with hotels, restaurants, shopping centers or cruise ships. The term casino can also refer to a specific type of gambling game, such as baccarat or poker.

Something about the roar of slot machines and the cheers of blackjack players or the flash of dice rolling across tables inspires people to try their hand at gambling. But even if musical shows, lighted fountains and elaborate themes help draw in crowds, casinos would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, baccarat, craps and other table games account for the billions in profits that casinos bring in each year.

Unlike Internet casinos, which allow gamblers to play anonymously, most casinos encourage interaction between patrons and staff members by providing noise, lighting and other stimuli. Waiters rove the casino floors and offer free nonalcoholic drinks and snacks. Casino decorations are often loud and bright, with red being a popular color because it is believed to encourage gambling.

Casinos reward loyal customers with free goods and services, known as comps. These perks can include hotel rooms, food, free show tickets and limo service. Some casinos have catwalks in the ceiling that let surveillance personnel look down on each table, change window and doorway, with cameras able to be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons.