A casino, also known as a gambling house or a gaming establishment, is an establishment where various types of gambling can take place. Casinos offer a variety of games, such as poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and more. They may be located in standalone buildings, in hotel and resort complexes or on cruise ships. They often include dining, entertainment and retail shopping.
While casinos have added many luxuries in recent years to help lure gamblers, the primary function remains gambling. A modern casino is essentially a large building with multiple rooms where gambling takes place, usually under the watchful eye of security personnel. Some casinos have catwalks in the ceiling that allow surveillance personnel to look down, through one-way glass, on players at the tables and machines.
Casinos are also recognizable by their bright and sometimes gaudy floor and wall coverings, which are meant to stimulate the senses of gamblers and make them lose track of time. Red is a popular color, as it is thought to increase the heart rate and blood pressure. Casinos also do not put clocks on their walls, as they are afraid that people will realize they are losing money and quit gambling.
In the past, mobster-run casinos were common in Las Vegas and other major cities, but federal crackdowns on organized crime and the emergence of huge corporate casinos with deep pockets has helped to keep mob involvement out of the business. Even so, some casinos have a reputation for being seedy or shady.