What is a Casino?

A casino is a facility where gambling is legal and people can place bets on games of chance. A casino’s size, layout and security systems are designed to prevent cheating and theft. Casinos often offer free hotel rooms, meals and show tickets to “good” players. They can also provide limo service and airline tickets to big spenders. Some casinos have a high-tech eye-in-the-sky surveillance system where each table, window and doorway can be monitored by cameras.

Originally, casinos were used by the wealthy to socialize and entertain themselves. During the second half of the 19th century, more gamblers flocked to casinos in cities such as Monte Carlo and Paris. Casinos became more widely available as states legalized gambling. But the taint of mafia gangsters and their seamy dealings put many legitimate businessmen off gambling. Real estate developers and hotels soon realized the potential profits of casinos, and bought out the mobsters.

In the twenty-first century, casinos are choosier about who they let in. They focus on “high rollers” who gamble tens of thousands of dollars or more. They usually play in special rooms, separate from the main casino floor. Casinos make most of their profit from these people, so they reward them with free hotel rooms and meals, tickets to shows, and even limo service. High rollers are kept under close watch, so they don’t cheat or steal. But something about casinos encourages some people to lie, scam or cheat to win.