What is a Casino?


A Casino (also called a Gambling House) is an establishment for certain types of gambling. These casinos are often combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops and/or cruise ships. They also frequently host live entertainment, such as stand-up comedy shows, concerts and sports events. The most famous casinos are in Nevada and Atlantic City, but many states have them as well.

Modern casinos are designed around noise, light and excitement. They feature dazzling decorations and a variety of games that depend on chance for their outcome, such as slots, poker, blackjack and craps. Musical shows and lighted fountains help attract customers. However, even if elaborate hotels and other amenities were not available, casinos would still rely on the billions of dollars that patrons wager each year for their profits.

Every game offered by a casino has a built in statistical advantage for the house, although this is usually very small, less than two percent. This gives the casino an overall expected return on investment and makes it extremely rare for a casino to lose money on a single day’s operation. Casinos rake in the profits from these bets, then use them to finance such extravagant decorations as flamboyant hotels, enormous pyramids, towers and replicas of famous landmarks.

In the 1950s, organized crime figures funded some of the early Las Vegas casinos. Legitimate businessmen were reluctant to get involved, due to the taint of gambling’s seamy reputation, but mobsters had no such concerns and became heavily invested in casinos, taking sole or partial ownership and influencing game outcomes with their own personal money.