What Is a Casino?
A casino is a place where people can play games of chance and gamble. It can also include other activities such as dining, drinking and stage shows. Many casinos have luxurious amenities such as high-end restaurants, free drinks and elaborate theaters. These luxuries help attract customers and generate revenue for the business. However, there are less extravagant places that house gambling activities that would still be considered casinos.
Originally, the word “casino” simply denoted a public hall for music and dancing. But by the second half of the 19th century, it came to mean a collection of gaming or gambling rooms. Many of these were located in European cities such as Monte Carlo, Paris or Amsterdam. Others were found in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. In the United States, casinos were often built by real estate investors and hotel chains, who saw an opportunity to make money from tourists who enjoyed gambling.
Casinos rely on a variety of sources for their income, including slot machines and table games. Craps is a favorite for big bettors, and casinos often lower their advantage to 1 percent or less to attract them. Roulette and blackjack appeal to small bettors, and casinos typically maintain an edge of about one percent or more in these games as well. Casinos have also increased their use of technology to monitor games. In some instances, betting chips have microcircuitry that allows them to be monitored minute by minute; roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any statistical deviations from expected results; and video cameras record all activity at casino tables and slots.
Although something about the nature of gambling (perhaps its association with large amounts of cash) encourages cheating and stealing, casinos spend an enormous amount of time and money on security measures. In addition to manned guard posts and security cameras, many casinos employ specially trained personnel whose job is to spot suspicious behavior. Many casinos also have catwalks that run along the ceiling above the gaming floor, allowing security personnel to look down through one-way glass on game play.
In general, the average casino patron is a forty-six-year-old female from a household with above-average income. The number of men who frequent casinos is considerably smaller, however. In 2005, men accounted for only 23 percent of all casino gamblers.
While casinos are a source of entertainment and income for millions of people around the world, not everyone agrees that they are good for local economies. Critics point out that casino profits often represent a shift in spending from other forms of recreation, and that the costs of treating problem gamblers and lost productivity due to gambling addictions more than offset any positive economic benefits.
If you’re interested in learning more about casinos, check out the map below. You can zoom in to find a specific location or click on a state to see the list of casinos in that area. You can also click on the links to read more about individual casinos.