What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment for certain types of games. It is often combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and cruise ships and can be operated by public, private, or tribal organizations. These facilities are mainly known for gambling, but also offer other entertainment such as live music and shows.

A wide variety of games are offered at casinos, including slot machines, roulette, blackjack, poker, craps, and keno. The profits from these games provide the vast majority of the billions of dollars in annual revenues for casinos. Other attractions, such as musical shows and lighted fountains, help to draw in visitors.

Casinos attract gamblers from all over the world, and their popularity is growing with rising disposable incomes in many nations. They have become more like indoor amusement parks for adults, with lavish hotels and top-notch amenities such as spas and restaurants added to the gaming offerings.

While Las Vegas and Reno are the best-known casinos in the United States, others have found success with niche markets. For example, the elegant German spa town of Baden-Baden first opened its doors to European royalty and aristocracy 150 years ago, and is considered one of the most beautiful casinos in the world today.

Historically, casinos were owned by organized crime figures and often financed through illegal activities such as drug dealing, extortion, and other rackets. Because of this seamy reputation, legitimate businessmen were hesitant to invest in the industry. Instead, mafia leaders provided funds and sometimes took sole or partial ownership of casinos in Reno and later in Las Vegas.