What Makes a Casino a Casino?


The modern casino may be filled with musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers, but it wouldn’t exist without the billions in profits raked in each year by slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat. The games of chance are the main attraction at these temples of temptation, where gambling is elevated to an art form with opulent furnishings and overflowing bars.

Something about the game of chance encourages people to try to cheat, steal or scam their way to winning a jackpot. That’s why casinos spend so much time and money on security. Elaborate surveillance systems include a high-tech eye-in-the-sky that allows security workers to watch every table, window and doorway at once from a room filled with banks of monitors. In addition, video cameras are routinely inspected and the results of slot machine payouts are verified.

Aside from the gaming operations, casinos also offer restaurants and other entertainment. Many hotels are attached to casinos and have their own nightclubs, bars and theaters. Some casinos are themed to reflect an area or region and have restaurants serving traditional dishes from that locale.

Casinos are often criticized for taking business away from other forms of entertainment, and for having an adverse economic impact on the surrounding area. For example, compulsive gamblers can drain a community of resources that could have been spent on other attractions, and casinos have been accused of shifting spending by out-of-town visitors from local businesses.