What Is a Casino?

A casino is a place where people can gamble on games of chance. In modern times the word is most often used to refer to a large building that houses many gambling activities, but there have been less-grand establishments that qualify as casinos, too. Whatever the name, a casino’s primary purpose is to attract patrons and encourage them to gamble. To that end, it offers a variety of games and provides entertainment, top-notch hotels and spas, restaurants and bars.

There is no definitive number on the number of casino visitors, but there can be little doubt that more than 51 million Americans (a quarter of all adults over 21) visited one in 2002. Worldwide that figure is surely much higher. Casinos are designed to be attractive and stimulating places to gamble, and they often feature bright colors and dramatic scenery. Some, such as the Casino at Monte-Carlo in Monaco, are famous for their beauty and have become tourist attractions in their own right.

To keep gamblers coming back, most casinos offer comps, or free goods and services. These range from free drinks and meals to room stays and even airfare. High rollers, who make large bets and spend long hours at the tables or slot machines, are especially favored; they can expect to receive perks worth tens of thousands of dollars. Many casinos also strive to be good citizens, supporting local charities and contributing to social responsibility programs. In addition, they have sophisticated security systems that can detect any suspicious activity and quickly identify a player.

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