What Is a Casino?

A casino, also known as a gambling house or a gaming room, is a building or room where people can gamble. Some casinos offer only slot machines and other electronic games, while others have a full complement of table games. Some even have shows or other forms of entertainment. The term casino may also refer to the business of running such establishments.

Modern casinos are wired for surveillance and have multiple security departments. Typically, a physical security force patrols the premises while a specialized surveillance department monitors closed circuit television. In addition, many casinos have a team that investigates any report of suspicious or definite criminal activity.

In the United States, casinos are generally licensed and regulated by the state in which they operate. Many states have passed laws governing the operation of casinos, and some have even banned certain games. The number of casinos has increased rapidly as more states legalize them.

Casinos are an important source of employment in some cities, particularly Las Vegas and Atlantic City. They are also major tourist attractions. However, their presence often has a negative effect on property values in the surrounding areas.

In the past, many casinos were owned by organized crime groups. Mafia members provided the initial capital and then became involved in the management of the casinos, taking on a personal role that contributed to the seamy image of gambling. The money from these activities was used to finance other illegal rackets such as drug trafficking and extortion.