What Is a Casino?

When most people think of a casino, they envision one of the megaresorts of Las Vegas — a hotel and entertainment complex brimming with neon lights and fun. But a casino’s definition is much broader, and it encompasses more than just gambling halls.

A casino, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is an establishment for certain types of gambling, especially a public hall where the participants bet money and receive prizes according to the results of random chance. Casinos are most often combined with hotels, restaurants and other entertainment venues; they also may operate on cruise ships or in other tourist destinations.

In the twenty-first century, casinos have become choosier with respect to their investments and often limit their exposure to high-stakes gamblers. This is because these gamblers generate much of the revenue a casino generates. These individuals are known as “high rollers,” and casinos often give them special rooms, luxury suites and other amenities.

Although musical shows, glitzy shops and elaborate themes help lure customers into the casino, games of chance — slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno, baccarat and more — provide the billions in profits casinos rake in each year. When surveyed, most casino patrons report that slot machines are their favorite form of gambling, while card games like poker and blackjack are the next most popular. Other casino games, such as bingo and keno, receive considerably less play. In Nevada, a recent survey by Gemini Research found that 50% of gamblers choose to play slots, while card games and other table games each garnered only about 10% of the favored player’s attention.