What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling house where people play a variety of games of chance. It is also an entertainment venue that features music, shows and other events. Casinos are often large and luxurious, and many are operated by well-known hotel chains. In the United States, casino gambling is most prevalent in Las Vegas and other cities in Nevada. Some casinos specialize in specific types of games, such as blackjack or poker. Others have a wide range of games, such as roulette and craps. A few casinos have a sports book, where players can place bets on various sporting events.

Casinos are often heavily guarded, and employees keep a close eye on patrons to spot cheating and other violations of rules. The most sophisticated casinos have cameras positioned in the ceiling to allow security personnel to keep an eye on the entire floor at once, adjusting their focus to watch particular suspicious areas. In addition, most slot machines are wired to a central computer system that keeps statistics on each spin and can detect anomalies.

In the past, organized crime figures ran most of the world’s largest casinos, a situation that created a stigma among legitimate businesses. However, real estate investors and major hotel companies had more money than the mob did, and were able to buy out the mobsters and run their casinos without the mob’s interference. As a result, the mob has largely left the casino business, as federal crackdowns and the threat of losing a gambling license at even the slightest hint of mob involvement have made it unprofitable.