What Is a Casino?

A casino is a public place where people gamble on games of chance. Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, and cruise ships. Some are known for hosting live entertainment events such as stand-up comedy, concerts, and sporting events.

A casino’s reputation precedes it. Many of the most famous casinos have a shady past. In the 1950s, organized crime financed several Las Vegas casinos. Mobster money gave the industry a bad name, and legitimate businessmen were reluctant to get involved with gambling’s seamy image. Then came the era of legalized sports betting and horse racing, which helped clean up the image. But it wasn’t until the late 1980s that most American states lifted their anti-gambling laws and allowed casino gambling on Indian reservations.

The average casino gambler is a forty-six-year-old woman from a middle-class household. She is likely to be married with children and has an above-average income. In 2005, she accounted for 23% of all casino gamblers.

Problem gambling is a serious issue that can destroy lives. It is important to know the warning signs of a gambling addiction, and to seek professional help if you suspect you have a problem. Fortunately, responsible gambling measures are widely available and most state laws include statutory funding for treatment services. Most casinos display responsible gambling information on their websites, and most have staff trained to identify and assist gambling addicts. These examples are automatically compiled from online sources, and may not reflect the views of Merriam-Webster or its editors.