What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers the opportunity to wager money on various games of chance. It is also a social gathering place, where patrons are surrounded by other people. There is usually a lot of noise, bright lighting and a cheery atmosphere. Drinks are readily available, and casino staff circulate to offer them to players. A casino is not the same as a nightclub or a discotheque, although it may contain a dance floor.

The first casinos were founded in Nevada, but they soon spread throughout the United States and into other countries. They are particularly popular in the American South, where they compete with other forms of entertainment and serve as an economic draw for local communities. Casinos are often located on American Indian reservations, which are exempt from state antigambling laws.

Casinos depend on their customers, and they provide a variety of incentives to keep them gambling. These include free drinks, floor shows and all-you-can-eat buffets. Some casinos even offer complimentary hotel rooms and suites if gamblers spend enough money. These perks are called “comps.”

In the past, mobster money flowed into casinos in Reno and Las Vegas, but federal crackdowns have driven away the Mafia. Real estate investors and hotel chains have deep pockets and are able to operate casinos without mob interference. Casinos are now often designed to appeal to a broader range of customers by offering amenities such as expensive restaurant and spa services, and more refined decor.