What Is a Casino?


A casino, in the most general sense, is a place where gambling activities take place. While some casinos add a variety of other entertainment activities, restaurants and stage shows to attract customers, they all are places that house gambling games.

Something about gambling (maybe it’s the presence of large amounts of money) seems to encourage cheating, stealing and scamming in ways that don’t exist in any other business. That’s why casinos spend a great deal of time, effort and money on security.

Casinos use a wide variety of tricks to keep people playing. They’re arranged in a maze-like fashion so that wandering patrons are constantly enticed with more gambling options. The slots and tables are lit with bright, sometimes gaudy colors that stimulate the senses and cheer people on to gamble longer. The noises of bells, clang of coins dropping and the clink of dropped chips are also constant.

In addition to traditional table games like blackjack and poker, most casinos offer a wide selection of Asian-themed and other popular card games. Some even have special Far Eastern games like sic bo, fan-tan and pai gow.

Casinos are a huge industry that draws people from around the world. In the United States alone, it is estimated that about 51 million people—a quarter of all Americans over 21—visited a casino in 2002. The numbers are much higher internationally. From the glitzy Las Vegas Strip to the illegal pai gow parlors of New York’s Chinatown, casinos are found throughout the globe.