What Is a Casino?


From the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip to the smoky, crowded pai gow parlors in New York City, a casino is a place where gamblers can play games of chance and skill. While the majority of casinos are found in large, full-service resorts, there are also floating casinos on barges and boats and land-based locations in many states, as well as racinos (casino-type games added to racetracks).

Successful casinos make billions each year for their owners, investors, corporations and Native American tribes. They provide jobs and attract tourists, both domestic and international. Casinos are regulated by state and local governments and are subject to taxes and fees that help fund public services.

Guests at a casino are encouraged to gamble, but they aren’t necessarily expected to win. To encourage patrons, casinos offer free food and drinks and stage shows. They also use bright, sometimes gaudy floor and wall coverings to stimulate the senses. It’s not uncommon for casinos to employ the color red, which is believed to make people lose track of time.

Casinos make most of their money from high rollers, or those who spend a lot of money. These players get comps, or free goods and services, based on their level of play and the amount of money they spend. Comps can include hotel rooms, meals, show tickets, limo service and airline tickets. They are also offered to those who spend hours gambling at slot machines and table games.