What Is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people come to gamble and play games of chance. These gambling establishments are often found near hotels, restaurants, shopping centers and cruise ships. They are regulated and licensed by the state to operate. They are also often staffed by professionals, such as security and dealers. Some casinos are even manned by trained croupiers who help players with their game strategy and betting patterns.

Although casinos offer a wide variety of entertainment options, they would not exist without the games of chance that attract people to them. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and poker are just a few of the popular games that generate billions in profits for casinos every year. While lighted fountains, musical shows and shopping centers may help draw customers, these extras do not create the huge profits that casinos rely on.

Each of these casino games has a built in mathematical advantage for the house. While this advantage can be as small as a couple of percent, it adds up over millions of bets. In addition, most casinos charge a commission on all winning bets, known as the vig or rake. Casinos also make money by allowing players to use their credit cards in the gambling area and offering free drinks and food.

Casinos compete with each other to attract customers, but they also face competition from non-gambling resorts, on-line gaming and illegal gambling operations much larger than their legal counterparts. As a result, they must offer generous incentives to keep customers coming back and spending money. For example, top bettors are offered free show tickets, hotel rooms, meals, transportation and other perks.

In general, the average American adult who visits a casino is a forty-six-year-old female from a household with above-average income. This age group tends to have more vacation time and available spending money than other demographic groups. Moreover, they are more likely to be married and have children.

While casinos compete with each other for customers, they also have to compete with organized crime figures who want to take over casinos and rig the games. Mob money flowed steadily into Reno and Las Vegas in the 1950s and 1960s, and mobsters took control of many casinos. In addition to providing bankrolls, mafia members fought for control of the businesses and used their influence over local law enforcement to manipulate games and other operations. This tainted the image of the businesses and made them unpopular with legitimate businessmen.