What Is a Casino?


A casino (also known as a gambling house or a gaming establishment) is a place where various types of gambling activities are carried out. Modern casinos often combine entertainment and retail operations, with a hotel, restaurant, nightclub, or other types of venues. They may also offer other amenities such as convention facilities and spas. Many states have legalized or regulate casinos. The largest concentration of casinos is in Las Vegas, Nevada. Other major casino markets include Atlantic City, New Jersey and Chicago. Some casinos are located on American Indian reservations, which are exempt from state antigambling laws.

Casinos make money by offering games that have a built in mathematical advantage for the house. This advantage can be small, but it adds up over time as millions of bettors wager billions of dollars on the games. This advantage is known as the house edge. The house edge is most pronounced in games of chance, such as roulette, blackjack and poker, where the house takes a rake from each bet.

During the early days of the Nevada casino business, organized crime figures provided much of the capital for the businesses. Mob money gave casinos a veneer of legitimacy, but federal crackdowns on mafia crimes soon depleted the crime syndicates’ bankrolls. Eventually, real estate investors and hotel chains bought out the mobsters and ran casinos without the mob’s interference. Today, technology has enabled casino operators to monitor their games for statistical deviations and alert players quickly when these occur.