What Is a Casino?



A casino is a gambling establishment that offers games of chance and skill, such as blackjack, roulette, craps, poker, video poker and slot machines. Casinos are often large entertainment complexes, with restaurants, hotel rooms and other amenities. In some states casinos can also be found on Indian reservations and in cruise ships. Casino-type game machines are also found in racetracks, truck stops and bars.

Casinos generate billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors and corporations that own them, and for state and local governments that tax them. Successful casinos attract many visitors, creating jobs and economic activity. Casino gambling is illegal in some countries, but legalized in most others. Many of the world’s most famous casinos are located in Las Vegas, Nevada, with other major concentrations in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Chicago.

Each casino has a built-in advantage for the house, called the “house edge”. This mathematical expectation guarantees that the casino will earn a profit on every bet placed by a patron. This advantage can be small (less than two percent), but over millions of wagers it adds up. To offset this edge, casinos regularly offer big bettors extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment, luxury living quarters and reduced-fare transportation. This strategy is known as comping. Players who spend large amounts of time and money on the tables or slot machines are often given comps worth thousands of dollars. Some casinos have special “high roller” rooms separate from the main casino floor, where the stakes are in the tens of thousands of dollars.