A casino is a special establishment that offers gambling entertainment to visitors. It may also have other facilities like restaurants and bars where people can enjoy drinks and meals. Some casinos even have cinemas where visitors can watch movies. This type of establishment is very popular and can be found all over the world.
According to the American Gaming Association, about 51 million people visited a casino in 2002. That’s roughly one quarter of all Americans over the age of 21. In addition to providing gambling, these casinos offer high-end hotels, luxury accommodations, breath-taking art installations and an endless list of other activities.
While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate themes help draw in customers, casinos exist because of their games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette and craps generate most of the profits for a casino. While a casino can provide plenty of entertainment, it’s important to remember that the house always wins in the end.
During the early years of legal gambling, organized crime figures provided the bankrolls for many casinos. However, as legitimate businessmen had more money and were less concerned about the taint of gambling’s seamy reputation, mob money began to disappear from casinos. Eventually, real estate investors and hotel chains bought out the mobsters and ran casinos without the mafia’s interference.
While casinos are a huge source of revenue for their owners, critics claim that the gambling industry does more harm than good to the economy. The cost of treating problem gamblers, plus the lost productivity caused by addiction to gambling, more than offset any economic gains a casino may bring to a community.