The term Casino, as defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, refers to a “building or room used for social amusements, specifically gambling.” Though many people associate casinos with the megaresorts of Las Vegas, casino games are actually played in a wide variety of locations. Some are operated by large companies and others are run by local governments or Native American tribes. The majority are located in states with legal gambling, the most famous being Nevada and New Jersey.

Most casinos are designed around noise, light, and excitement. The colors are often bright and gaudy. The sounds of bells and coins dropping add to the ambiance, and the machines are programmed with a variety of sounds including the familiar cling clang. Casinos also encourage patrons to gamble by offering perks, or comps, for doing so. Comps range from free meals to show tickets and discounted travel packages. The strategy is to keep people playing and spending money in order to maximize revenue.

Although casino gambling has been illegal in the United States for most of its history, it is now a legitimate industry and an important part of the economy. According to a survey by the American Gaming Association in 2004 (State of the States: The American Casino), most Americans now consider casino gambling acceptable. A significant number of these Americans have visited a casino in the past year. This is up from a low of 20% in 1989.