What Makes a Casino a Casino?


A casino is a place where people gamble. The vast majority of a casino’s profits come from games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, craps and other games of chance are what make casinos what they are today. Musical shows, flamboyant restaurants and shopping centers help draw in patrons, but it’s the games that provide the billions of dollars in profits casinos bring in every year.

Most of the world’s top casinos are built in glamorous, glitzy, over-the-top surroundings. The Grand Lisboa in Macau, for example, lives up to its surface decadence with a million LED lights that adorn its giant dome and an enormous gaming floor filled with thousands of tables and slots. The casino also has a massive, smoke-free room and regular entertainment for those who don’t feel the need to gamble.

In contrast, the elegant spa town of Baden-Baden, Germany, attracts royalty and aristocrats with its old-world ambiance and plethora of classic gambling games like chemin de fer (baccarat), two-up and trente et quarante. In fact, German actress Marlene Dietrich once called it “the most beautiful casino in the world.”

Even a casual glance at the modern casino gives evidence of the need for gambling to have a social component. Most gamblers are not solo players. They are usually surrounded by fellow punters, seated around a table or standing in a group at the slot machine, and they shout encouragement to each other. Casinos are lighted brightly and often decorated in red, which is thought to stimulate the brain and enhance performance. Many casinos even have no clocks on the walls to prevent players from being distracted by the passing of time.