What Is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. These establishments often add luxuries to attract customers, such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. They can also offer comps to loyal players, such as hotel rooms or tickets to events. Casinos can be found in many places, from Las Vegas to Monte Carlo.

Most casino games involve a degree of skill and strategy as well as luck. These games can be played on tables or video screens. Table games include card games like poker and blackjack, dice games such as craps, and wheel games such as roulette. These games can be social, competitive or just plain fun. In the United States, 51 million people (about a quarter of all Americans over 21) visited casinos in 2002.

The early history of the modern casino is closely tied to organized crime. Mafia figures supplied the capital to open Nevada’s first casinos, and they became involved in running them as well. They controlled many casinos and used them to launder money from illegal rackets such as drug dealing and extortion. They also boosted revenue by opening new casinos and buying existing ones.

Casinos often use chips to represent money, rather than paper bills or coins. This makes it harder for players to keep track of how much they are losing, although it does not reduce the house edge. Some casinos also prohibit the wearing of watches on their casino floors, because they want players to lose track of time and stay playing for as long as possible.

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