What Is a Casino?

A casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. Most casinos offer slot machines and table games such as poker, blackjack and roulette. Some casinos also have sports books and horse racing. Casinos are often built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants and other tourist attractions. Various state laws govern the legality of casinos. Some states permit casino-style gaming on tribal lands, while others have banned it.

The word casino derives from the Italian cazino, meaning “little house.” The first modern casinos were adaptations of European-style gaming halls, which could be found in cities like Venice. The casino concept spread throughout the world with the rise of railroad travel and the growth of tourism.

Today, casinos are widespread and can be found in large cities such as Las Vegas and Chicago, as well as smaller towns and even rural areas. In the United States, there are over 1,000 casinos, with the greatest concentration in Atlantic City, New Jersey and Chicago. Most casinos are privately owned by corporations, investment groups or Native American tribes. They generate billions of dollars in revenue each year for their owners and operators, and pay millions in taxes to local and state governments.

In 2005, the average casino patron was a forty-six-year-old woman from an upper-middle-class family. They were most likely to be college graduates and occupied professional or managerial jobs. Despite the popularity of online gambling, the average American still visited land-based casinos in 2008. A typical casino contains a wide variety of games. Some of them are traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo, fan-tan and pai gow, while others are American-style games like roulette, blackjack and poker.