What Is a Casino?
A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance. While non-gambling attractions such as restaurants, shops and stage shows help draw in patrons, casinos would not exist without games of chance such as blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat. These games provide the billions of dollars in profits that casinos rake in every year.
The term casino has come to mean more than just a place to gamble. Today, casinos are often large resorts that feature hotels, restaurants, non-gambling game rooms and many other amenities that appeal to the whole family. They may even have water slides and other types of amusement rides.
Casinos make their money by taking a percentage of bets made by their patrons. This means that no matter how much a patron bets, they cannot win more than the casino can afford to lose. This virtual assurance of gross profit gives casinos the confidence to offer big bettors extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment and elegant living quarters. In addition to the house edge built into the odds of each game, some casinos also have additional built-in advantages such as a rake of a small percentage of each poker pot or an hourly fee charged to players at a table.
Gambling is a serious problem in many countries and has led to the establishment of casinos. In some places, such as Las Vegas, the casinos are a major tourist attraction and generate huge revenues for their owners. In other places, such as Atlantic City, the casinos have helped resurrect struggling waterfront areas and have attracted new business to the area. However, in some cases, casinos have had a negative impact on local housing prices and have contributed to the rise of homelessness.
In the United States, casinos first appeared on American Indian reservations, which were exempt from state antigambling laws. They then began appearing in other parts of the country during the 1980s, mostly along the Atlantic Coast and in Florida. Casinos also began popping up in South America and are now located all over the world.
Security in casinos starts on the floor, where employees keep their eyes peeled for blatant cheating at the slot machines and tables. In some casinos, security personnel watch through one-way glass from catwalks above the games. This allows them to see the activities of patrons without being seen themselves.
Among the best known casinos is the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. While it has the usual range of tables and slots, this venerable gambling den is especially famous for its high stakes poker games. It also features a lively sports betting section with 60 large plasma TVs where punters can flick coins on American football, boxing and martial arts matches. The Sun City Resort in Rustenburg, South Africa is another well-known casino that attracts both casual players and hardened gamblers. The hotel has more than 130 slots and over a dozen tables, but its focus is clearly on aesthetics and quality rather than quantity.