What is a Casino?

A casino (sometimes known as a gaming house or a gambling establishment) is a building that houses a variety of games of chance. Casino games include poker, bingo, baccarat, roulette, blackjack, craps, and slot machines.

Modern casinos are usually elaborate entertainment complexes. They may be combined with hotels, restaurants, shopping centers and stage shows. They are regulated by state and local governments. Successful casinos bring in billions of dollars a year for companies, investors and Native American tribes that own and operate them. They also rake in millions of dollars in taxes and fees for the cities, states and nations that host them.

Casinos rely on a variety of tricks to lure gamblers. They often feature flashing lights and the sounds of bells, chimes and coins dropping to attract attention. Many have windows that don’t open, and clocks are rarely visible so patrons can lose track of time and continue gambling for hours without realizing how much money they’ve spent.

To encourage gamblers to spend more money, casinos typically offer comps — free or discounted food, drinks, hotel rooms and show tickets. They also use computerized tracking systems to compile information on gamblers’ habits and spending patterns. This helps them target advertisements to specific demographic groups. Elaborate surveillance systems include catwalks above the casino floor that allow security personnel to look down through one-way glass at the tables and slots. These cameras, called “eyes-in-the-sky” by the industry, can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons.