What is a Casino?

When people hear the word casino, they think of bright lights and big money. Casinos are places where you can try your luck at winning the elusive Lady Luck, and leave with (hopefully) more money than you came in with. They can be found in cities across the United States, from Las Vegas to Atlantic City to Biloxi.

Casinos focus on customer service and offer perks designed to encourage gamblers to spend more and reward those who do. They offer free things like meals, show tickets and hotel rooms, as well as discounted travel packages and cheap buffets. They also offer high rollers special rooms and personal attention, because the casinos make most of their money from these large bettors.

Gambling has long been a popular pastime, with games of chance and skill played throughout history in almost every culture. But the modern casino, with its luxurious rooms and gambling tables, is a relatively new phenomenon.

In the 1950s, Nevada became the first state to legalize gambling, opening the door for other casinos. Some were built on American Indian reservations, which are not subject to state anti-gambling laws. Others were established in cities like Reno and Las Vegas, which capitalized on their reputations as vacation destinations.

Because of the large amount of cash handled by a casino, security is a major concern. Besides the physical security force, casinos usually have a specialized surveillance department that operates closed circuit television systems. These “eyes in the sky” can monitor every table, window and doorway, and are easily adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons.