What Is a Casino?


A casino is a building or room where people can play gambling games like blackjack, roulette and poker. Casinos also often feature entertainment shows and restaurants. Typically, casinos require patrons to be of legal age to gamble. They may also have a dress code. In the United States, casinos are most commonly found in Nevada and New Jersey, although they can be built in many other places.

The vast majority of a casino’s profits come from games of chance. Slot machines, poker rooms, craps tables and the like provide the billions of dollars in profits that casinos rake in each year. But casinos would not exist without a host of other amenities and attractions that appeal to people who love to gamble. Musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers all help draw in the crowds.

In the past, casinos were often run by organized crime figures who had plenty of cash from illegal rackets like drug dealing and extortion. But as the casinos grew in popularity and raked in huge profits, legitimate businessmen with even more money began to invest. Casinos are now run by real estate investors, hotel chains and other corporations. Federal crackdowns and the threat of losing a license at the slightest hint of mob involvement have helped to keep the mobsters away from their gambling cash cows.

Casinos are designed to make sure that the house always wins. They have a built in statistical advantage, sometimes only a few percent, which means that over time and millions of bets the casino will earn enough money to cover all its costs and leave a profit. This edge is called the house edge, vig or rake. The higher the house edge, the greater the casino’s profit margin. Casinos can compensate for the edge by offering comps to good players, such as free meals and hotel rooms.