What is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment, and the vast majority of its profits come from games of chance, such as poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and slot machines. Although a casino might have a number of other attractions such as restaurants, theaters, shopping centers and hotel accommodations, the gaming facility is the core of a casino and accounts for billions of dollars in revenue each year.

Casinos have a long history of association with organized crime, but in the United States and elsewhere, the term is also applied to any building that houses gambling activities. Legitimate businessmen were reluctant to get involved, as the casinos carried a taint of criminal activity that could damage their reputations. Instead, mafia bosses supplied the money to expand the operations. They often took sole or partial ownership of the casinos, and exerted influence over the decisions of management and dealers.

The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, and many features such as lighted fountains, stage shows, lavish hotels and elaborate themes help draw in the customers. However, casinos would not exist without the games of chance that provide the profits that support them. Every game has a built in mathematical advantage for the casino, which is usually less than two percent, and this advantage is called the house edge or the house profit. The casino additionally collects a commission from some games, such as poker, which is known as the rake or vigorish.

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