What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment featuring games of chance and skill. These games include card and dice games such as poker, blackjack, and roulette, and slot machines. Some casinos also offer a variety of live entertainment. Casinos are found around the world, from massive resorts and themed buildings to small card rooms. In addition, there are casino-type games in some bars and restaurants, and on ships and at racetracks. In the United States, casinos are regulated by state law and must be licensed.

While musical shows, lighted fountains, and shopping centers help draw people to casinos, the billions of dollars in profits that casinos rake in each year come from the millions of bets placed on games of chance such as keno, baccarat, and blackjack. These games have a built-in advantage for the house, which is mathematically determined and can range from very low (less than two percent) to high, depending on the rules of each game. The advantage is sometimes called the house edge or vigorish, and it may be collected from players in the form of comps, which are free goods or services such as food, drinks, hotel rooms, or tickets to shows.

The average casino patron is a forty-six-year-old woman with an above-average income who gambles for fun and excitement. Some casinos specialize in “high roller” customers, offering them special suites and other amenities. Due to the large amounts of money that pass through casino doors, both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with others or independently.

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