What Is a Casino?

What Is a Casino?


A casino is a building that houses certain types of gambling. In the United States, it is a common tourist attraction and is often combined with other entertainment venues. Other terms for casinos include gaming house and gambling hall.

In 2005, according to a report from Harrah’s Entertainment, about 51 million Americans visited a casino. The average American visitor was forty-six years old and earned a higher than average income. The majority were women. Compulsive gamblers generate a large percentage of casino profits, and they often bring family and friends to the table.

Casinos make money by offering a statistical advantage to the house in each game played. This edge can be very small, but over millions of bets it adds up. That money allows casinos to construct elaborate hotels, fountains, pyramids and towers. It also pays for the flamboyance of stage shows and the elegance of Hermes and Chanel boutiques.

Gambling has a seamy image in many communities, and in the past many casinos were associated with organized crime. Mafia figures had plenty of cash from drug dealing, extortion and other illegal rackets to invest in Las Vegas gambling, often taking sole or partial ownership of casinos and influencing the results of games.

Today, casinos use bright colors to create a manufactured sense of blissful happiness. They also use scents to stimulate gamblers and keep them coming back. For example, some casinos use scented oils in their ventilation systems to mimic the smell of a freshly baked cake. Others feature the color red, which is said to make people lose track of time.