What Is a Casino?

A casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. Large casino resorts often incorporate hotels, restaurants and shopping. Some also have entertainment venues like theaters and music halls. In the United States, casinos are legal in 37 states and are operated by Indian tribes, state governments, private investors and corporations. They generate billions of dollars each year, and they employ a large number of people worldwide.

Many casinos provide perks designed to encourage gamblers to spend more and to reward those who do. They offer free food and drink, discounted hotel rooms and show tickets, and limo service and airline tickets for high-spending patrons. They may also have clubs that give players points that can be redeemed for cash or prizes.

Security is another area of emphasis in modern casino design. Casino staff is trained to spot the smallest tell-tale sign of cheating, such as dice or card marking or palming. Table managers and pit bosses keep a close eye on their tables, making sure that the players aren’t colluding or stealing chips.

While casino gambling is usually associated with Las Vegas, it has spread to other parts of the world as well. In the early 1990s, for example, Iowa legalized “riverboat” gambling, and casino businesses opened up all over the state. In addition, major real estate developers and hotel chains saw the potential of the market and began investing in it. This competition, combined with federal crackdowns on mob involvement in gambling and the prospect of losing a license at even the slightest hint of mob influence, forced legitimate casino owners to spend huge amounts of money on security.