A casino, also called a gambling house or a gaming establishment, is a facility for certain types of gambling. Modern casinos are largely owned and operated by private companies and have become an important source of revenue for their owners. The profits from casinos are derived from the customers who visit them, and the patrons’ spending on games of chance, dining, hotel rooms, and other entertainment. In addition, some casinos are known for hosting live entertainment, such as musical shows, comedy acts, and sporting events.
While the concept of a casino may be new to many, gambling has a long history and the first true casinos evolved in the 16th century during the European gaming craze. In the early days, mobsters financed casinos and controlled them, because they had ample cash from drug dealing and other illegal rackets. Mobster money gave casinos a glamorous, sexy image that attracted tourists and helped boost local economies.
Today’s casinos are choosy about their high rollers and focus heavily on players who spend large amounts of money. They offer such big gamblers a variety of “comps,” including free show tickets, meals at gourmet restaurants, and even limo service and airline tickets. These comps are based on how much a player spends and how much time they play.
In addition, casino security personnel monitor the game tables closely for blatant cheating. They note patterns in the way that dealers shuffle and deal cards or dice, and look for suspicious movements among the players. Casinos are also equipped with elaborate surveillance systems that provide an eye-in-the-sky view of every table, change window and doorway.