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What is a Casino?

A casino, also called a gambling house, is an establishment where games of chance are played for money. Many casinos have added luxuries such as restaurants, shopping centers and hotels, but the vast majority of their profits come from gaming, such as blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, baccarat and slot machines. While musical shows, lighted fountains and elaborate themes help attract players, casinos would not exist without the games of chance.

When Nevada became the first state to legalize gambling in the 1950s, legitimate businessmen were reluctant to invest their funds in such a seamy endeavor, so the mob provided the capital. They took sole or partial ownership of casinos and controlled the action behind the scenes, influencing decisions by casino managers and influencing payouts on certain slot machines.

Nevertheless, the casinos grew and attracted tourists from around the world. They adapted to a changing demographic and introduced innovations such as high-end dining and breath-taking art installations. They were embraced by Hollywood and have appeared in many films and TV shows.

In 2005, a study by Roper Reports and GfK NOP found that the typical casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old female with above-average income from a household of more than two people. They were more likely to be married and have children than other gamblers. The study also found that most gamblers were not addicted to gambling but rather tended to play for fun, socializing with friends and family. A small percentage of casino patrons were problem gamblers.