What Is a Casino?

A casino, also known as a gambling house or kasino (Spanish) is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It may be combined with hotels, restaurants, cruise ships or retail shops. The term may also refer to a private club.

The casino industry is a major source of employment in many countries. It is also a significant contributor to the economy of some states. However, critics point out that casino revenue often transfers spending away from other local business and that the cost of treating problem gamblers and the lost productivity of gambling addicts more than offsets any economic gains.

Something about gambling encourages cheating, stealing and scamming, which is why casinos spend so much time and effort on security. Elaborate surveillance systems offer a high-tech “eye in the sky” that allows security workers to monitor every table, change window and doorway. These cameras can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons by security staff in a separate room filled with banks of security monitors. It is not unusual to see a casino’s head of security standing just outside the slot area.

Although casinos are typically located in areas with high populations of people, they can be found all over the world. They can range in size from a small building with one or two games to giant resorts with gourmet restaurants, nightclubs and dazzling architecture. One of the largest is in Macau, which has gone “all-in” on gaming and is sometimes called the Vegas of the East. The Grand Lisboa hotel-casino, which is shaped like a flaring and layered tower, is especially distinctive. It is topped by a restaurant that is routinely ranked among the top in the world, with three Michelin stars and a 17,000-label wine list.