A casino is a gambling establishment where patrons gamble money on games of chance or skill. It is a place where people can try their hand at a variety of games, from roulette to poker to blackjack, or even video games like slot machines. Casinos are a common sight worldwide and are considered to be a major source of entertainment. In fact, according to the American Gaming Association, about 51 million people visited casinos in 2002.
Casinos make their money by charging a “vig” or a “rake”, which is a small percentage of the total bets. This gives the casino a mathematical expectancy of winning, and it is rare for a single player to win more than the house does in one day. However, the large sums of money that are involved in casino games can lead to addiction and even suicide. In addition to the gambling, a casino usually offers restaurants, hotels and non-gambling entertainment.
Almost every city with a population of more than 100,000 has a casino. In the United States, the largest concentration of casinos is in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Many Native American tribes also operate casinos, and some are located outside of state jurisdictions where gambling is illegal.
In addition to the obvious attraction of gambling and its ancillary activities, casinos also offer free food and drinks to keep patrons at the tables and slots longer. This is known as comping. Big spenders get extra perks, such as discounted or free hotel rooms and shows, and in some cases even limo service and airline tickets.