What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment, which houses various types of games of chance and provides an array of other entertainment. Some casinos also have restaurants, hotels, and other facilities for the enjoyment of guests. In order to make a casino successful, it must adhere to strict gaming laws and maintain high standards of customer service.

A modern casino usually employs a combination of physical security forces and a specialized surveillance department to patrol the premises and respond to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious activity. Cameras are positioned throughout the casino and are constantly monitored by staff in a room filled with banks of monitors called an eye-in-the-sky. In addition to the cameras, a casino might hire professional gamblers to monitor the action and look for cheating. These are often referred to as gaming mathematicians or game analysts.

In the early days of casino gambling, organized crime groups controlled many of the establishments in Reno and Las Vegas. Mobster money provided the bankroll, but it was difficult for legitimate businessmen to enter the market because of its seamy reputation. As the industry grew, real estate developers and hotel chains saw the potential profits and bought out the mobsters. Mobster involvement in casinos waned with federal crackdowns and the loss of licensing at the slightest hint of mob ties.

To keep patrons happy, most casinos offer free food and drinks. Those who play for long periods of time or bet large sums are considered good players by the casino and may be rewarded with comps, which might include free meals, rooms, tickets to shows or even limo service and airline tickets. Most casinos use chips rather than actual cash, which helps deter shady dealings since the chips don’t look like real money.