What is a Casino?


A casino is a building or room in which certain types of gambling take place. Casinos are most often built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. In the United States, casinos are regulated by state and federal laws. Casinos are also known for hosting live entertainment such as concerts and stand up comedy.

While lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels add to the glamour of the casino experience, it’s the games that bring in the billions in profits for casino owners. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno provide the thrill that draws in gamblers by the millions.

Gambling is a game of chance, and while there are some lucky people who win big at casinos, most patrons lose. This is because, on average, a casino’s house edge (the house’s expected profit on every bet) and variance (the variation in the amount of money that patrons win or lose) are both positive. A casino’s gross profit is thus virtually guaranteed. This positive expectancy is what allows casinos to offer extravagant inducements to the most successful players, such as free spectacular entertainment, transportation and elegant living quarters.

In the early days of Las Vegas casino gambling, organized crime mobs controlled much of the action. But as real estate investors and hotel chains got into the business, they had deeper pockets than the mobsters and were able to buy out the mob’s interest in the casinos. Today’s casinos have a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department that work closely together to prevent crime.