A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. In addition to providing a place to gamble, casinos are also known for their entertainment venues and luxury amenities. Casinos are often combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and cruise ships.
About 51 million people—about one quarter of all Americans over the age of 21—visited a casino in 2002. This was a 3% increase over the previous year. The popularity of casinos seems to be fueled by the need to escape from a world that has become increasingly busy and stressful.
There is a certain sense of excitement that comes with the possibility of winning big. Gambling is also a great way to relieve boredom, as it provides a new focus for the mind and can result in a temporary escape from reality.
Casinos are designed to be noisy, bright and exciting, with many games designed to appeal to the senses. Players shout out encouragement to fellow gamblers, and alcohol is easily available from waiters circulating throughout the gambling area. In some games, such as blackjack and poker, a small percentage of the money wagered is taken by the house, known as the rake.
While most casinos cater to the mass market, some specialize in high rollers who spend much more than the average gambler. These patrons are typically given special rooms away from the main gaming floor and can receive comps worth tens of thousands of dollars, including free luxury suites.