A casino, or gambling house, is a building where people can gamble and play games of chance. Most casinos feature a wide variety of gambling games, including slot machines, blackjack, roulette, and poker. Some even offer live entertainment, luxury hotels, and top-notch restaurants. But while musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers may draw the crowds, casinos are all about gambling. Casinos earn their billions of dollars in profits each year by enticing people to risk their money on games of chance.
For most of American history, gambling was illegal. But that didn’t stop people from playing games of chance in private homes, in secret societies, or in outlawed gambling dens. When Nevada legalized gambling in 1931, entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to capitalize on the demand for entertainment and recreation by establishing casinos that offered the thrill of winning and losing large amounts of money.
Most casinos are staffed with employees who are trained to spot cheats and thieves, because large amounts of cash are handled frequently. Security cameras throughout the casino help keep tabs on everyone in case a problem arises. Some casinos also employ “card counters” to monitor game play for suspicious activity.
Because gambling can be addictive, most states require that casinos display signs highlighting the dangers of problem gambling and provide contact information for organizations that can offer specialized support. Some even include statutory funding for responsible gambling as part of the conditions for a casino’s license.