What Is a Casino?

A casino is a facility where people can gamble and play games of chance or skill, such as roulette, blackjack, poker, craps, and video slots. Some casinos also have restaurants, non-gambling game rooms, and other facilities such as swimming pools and bars. Many casinos give free items to players, which are known as comps.

Despite their seamy associations with organized crime and illegal gambling, casinos became popular in the United States after World War II as places to socialize and spend leisure time. Many casinos were built by businessmen who grew rich off of the revenue they brought in, and they sought to expand their businesses. At the same time, mobsters had plenty of cash from their drug dealing, extortion, and other illegal activities and were eager to invest it in casinos. However, federal crackdowns and the risk of losing a license at even the slightest hint of mob involvement forced many casinos to get out from under their mobsters’ control.

Unlike home games of card or dice, in which the player deals the cards or throws the dice, casino games are dealt by casino employees. Casinos also have security measures to prevent cheating and other problems. For example, dealers wear aprons with no pockets so that they can’t hide chips inside them. Dealers also have a “higher-up” who watches them work and notes any suspicious betting patterns that might indicate cheating. A casino’s surveillance system includes cameras that can zoom in on the action or detect motion.