What is a Casino?

The casino is a place where people can play games of chance for money. It is often combined with other entertainment facilities like restaurants and hotels. People also gamble in bars, at racetracks and on the Internet.

Modern casinos are elaborate places that cater to the gambling needs of their guests. They offer a wide variety of food and beverages and feature entertainment such as stage shows and dramatic scenery. But they would not exist without the games of chance that bring in the players. Slot machines, roulette, baccarat, craps and poker are all examples of casino games.

Casinos make their money by charging a fee to players called the vigorish or rake. It is a small percentage of each bet that the casino expects to lose, but over time it adds up to substantial profits for the owners. Casinos can also generate income by offering ‘comps,’ or free goods and services, to big spenders. These can include hotel rooms, dinners, show tickets and limo service.

During the gangster era of Las Vegas, mob money was used to help finance casinos and their expansion. Later, as real estate investors and hotel chains saw the potential for casino business, they stepped in to take over the mobsters’ share of the action. With federal crackdowns and the risk of losing their gaming license at the slightest hint of mob involvement, legitimate businesses now run most casinos. Technology has also dramatically increased the level of surveillance in casinos. For instance, table games are monitored electronically so that casinos can instantly detect any statistical deviations from the expected outcome.