What Is a Casino?

The casino is a gambling establishment where the main draw is games of chance and skill. These games include poker, roulette, baccarat and craps, along with slot machines. Modern casinos add other amenities to attract gamblers, including restaurants and free drinks. These luxuries help casinos generate billions of dollars in profits each year for the businesses, investors and Native American tribes that own and operate them.

In 2008, 24% of Americans reported visiting a casino in the previous year. These figures are up from about 20% in 1989. The majority of casino visitors were people between the ages of 35 and 49. These people typically had above-average incomes and more time to spare than younger adults.

While many casino customers are drawn by the flashy lights, glitzy tables and stage shows, they are primarily there to win money. In the 1990s, casinos dramatically increased their use of technology to monitor and supervise the games. Chip tracking systems enable them to oversee the amount wagered minute-by-minute and warn of any anomaly; roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any statistical deviations from expected results.

Casinos also emphasize customer service by providing a wide range of perks designed to encourage gamblers to spend more than they intended. These can include discounted travel packages, free meals and show tickets, and even cash back on winnings. Despite these incentives, only about a third of all casino gamblers are able to stop gambling when they lose enough money.