A casino, also known as a gaming house or gambling establishment, is an institution licensed by state or territorial governments to offer various forms of gambling. The most well-known of these are the large casinos found in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, but they can also be found in many other places around the world. Casinos are often combined with other attractions such as restaurants, hotels, retail shops or even cruise ships. The games offered vary, but all casinos feature table games such as blackjack, poker, craps and roulette. Most also feature slot machines and other electronic games. In addition to gambling, some casinos host stage shows and other forms of entertainment.
Unlike most other types of gambling, the casino industry is highly regulated by government agencies to ensure fair play. In the United States, for example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation oversees casino gambling to prevent cheating and other illegal activities. In Europe, the European Commission regulates the casino industry. Many countries have banned or restricted gambling, but a number of them permit it in some form.
Gambling in a casino is often characterized by loud noises and bright lights, which can distract players from keeping track of their bets. In some casinos, attendants ring up bets and serve food and drinks. In some jurisdictions, casino patrons may be subject to minimum age requirements.
There are many different motives for people to gamble at a casino, including the perceived opportunity to win big, the allure of social interaction, and the ability to keep track of their wagers. Some studies suggest that a substantial percentage of casino visitors are compulsive gamblers, and that they generate a disproportionate amount of profits for the casinos. In addition, some economists argue that the casino industry erodes local spending on other forms of entertainment and hurts property values.