A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It is often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops or cruise ships. A casino may also refer to a place where stand-up comedy, concerts or other live entertainment is presented. The term is derived from the Spanish word for “gambling house.”
The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, and while lighted fountains, shopping centers and themed hotels help draw in the crowds, it would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, poker and other table games make up the bulk of the billions in profits casinos generate each year.
In addition to a variety of casino table and slot games, many casinos offer a wide selection of ancillary services, such as sports book betting and racetrack facilities. Some offer exotic fares such as acrobatic shows, gourmet meals or exotic drinks. In some cases, casino owners and operators are known for taking advantage of gamblers.
According to the American Gaming Association, 51 million people-roughly one quarter of all U.S. adults over the age of 21-visited a casino in 2002. These visitors spend billions of dollars on gaming, dining and other amenities. The typical casino patron is a forty-six-year-old female from a household with an above average income. A significant portion of casino revenues comes from non-gambling related activities, such as hotel rooms, show tickets and food and beverage sales. Casinos have dramatically increased their use of technology in the 1990s, and video cameras and computers routinely supervise the tables and slots.