A casino is a place where people play games of chance. It may also include other entertainment facilities, such as bars and restaurants, but gambling is the central activity. It is typically housed in a lavish building with a luxurious interior design, often decorated in bright colors, such as red. Clocks are not displayed, as they would distract patrons from their activities, and music is played at a volume that is meant to stimulate the senses.
Casinos make money by offering players comps (free goods or services). The most important comps are free drinks and food. A casino’s profit margin is usually a small percentage of total revenue. Therefore, it is necessary to attract large numbers of visitors in order to turn a profit. This is accomplished by offering free entertainment and by providing other perks to high rollers, such as limousine service and luxury living quarters.
Gambling was illegal for most of the nation’s history, but casinos continued to operate, usually with the help of organized crime figures. Mob funding helped to finance the expansion of the Las Vegas casinos. The mobsters’ background in drug dealing and extortion made them perfect partners in developing casino businesses, which were often run as fronts for their racketeering.
Today, most major casinos are built in vacation cities such as Las Vegas, Atlantic City and other destinations around the world. They are huge, beautiful and feature a mindblowing array of gambling games. Some even have hotels, restaurants, nongambling game rooms, spas and swimming pools.