A casino is a gambling establishment offering games of chance and often combining them with hotels, restaurants and other entertainment venues. Despite the glitz and glamour that most people associate with casinos, the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition is much broader: “a building or room in which social amusements are carried on, especially gambling.”
The word casino has its roots in the Latin casona, meaning “cottage,” but it’s now used in English mostly to describe public halls for music and dancing; later, it came to mean a collection of gaming or gambling rooms. Generally, a casino offers both table and slot machines for wagering.
Like any other industry in a capitalist society, successful casinos are designed to make money. They rake in billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors and Native American tribes that own them and for state and local governments that collect taxes on casino profits.
In order to maximize their profits, casinos go to great lengths to attract and keep gamblers. They spend millions determining what colors, smells and sounds are most appealing to their target audience. They also offer a wide variety of perks such as free food, drinks and stage shows.
In addition to attracting and keeping gamblers, casinos must also deal with cheats, thieves and other illegal activities. This is why they invest so heavily in security. Cameras and other technological devices monitor all areas of the casino to ensure that no one is stealing or otherwise abusing the system. Employees patrol the floor to watch for blatant cheating tactics such as palming, marking or switching cards and dice.