What is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment where people can wager money on games of chance or skill. Games include poker, craps, roulette, blackjack, and video poker. Casinos often feature entertainment such as concerts and shows. Many casinos also have restaurants and bars.

Originally, casinos were run by organized crime groups, whose members had plenty of money from their drug dealing and extortion rackets to fund operations. Mob money made the Las Vegas strip and Reno thrive, but federal crackdowns on mob influence eventually forced gangsters to pull out. Then came real estate investors and hotel chains with deep pockets that were willing to take a risk on an industry that had a seamy reputation. Today, mob influence is confined to certain areas of the country and casinos are mostly run by legitimate businessmen.

Each game of chance has a built in statistical advantage for the house, and this advantage is uniformly negative (or expected value is uniformly negative) from a player’s perspective. This edge is referred to as the “house edge” and it gives casinos a virtual assurance of gross profit. In games with an element of skill, the casino earns money from players through a commission known as the rake.

Casinos have security measures in place to protect patrons’ money and personal information. For example, they may use cameras to monitor the activity of players. They also have security personnel on the floor to monitor players’ behavior and betting patterns, as well as to spot potential cheating.