What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment that allows patrons to gamble. Many casinos have elaborate designs and architecture, and offer stage shows, restaurants and other entertainment. Others are more stripped-down, and offer only a handful of gambling activities. Casinos have also been known as gambling houses, gaming rooms, kabino (Spanish for officers’ mess), and saloon (English for bar).

The primary purpose of a casino is to attract and keep customers. To this end, they often offer comps, or perks, to their highest-spending patrons. These may include free show tickets, hotel room discounts, and meals at their restaurants. In addition, many casinos have incorporated advanced technology into their security systems. For example, some table games use chips with built-in microcircuitry that interact with electronic systems to monitor the total amount of money wagered minute by minute, and alert staff to any anomalies; roulette wheels are electronically monitored to identify tampering or cheating.

The demographics of a typical casino customer vary, but in the United States the average casino gambler is a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with an above-average income. This group makes up 23% of all casino gamblers, according to a 2005 study by the research firm Roper Reports GfK NOP and TNS. Generally, they prefer blackjack and other games of skill that allow them to practice strategies and count cards. Casinos often target this group because they have the time and disposable income to spend more money gambling. In addition, they are able to make informed decisions about their gambling habits and can distinguish between winning and losing.