What is a Casino?

A Casino is a place where people gamble and other games of chance are played. There are many different types of casinos, but they all have the same basic characteristics. Some are more lavish than others, but they all have gambling as their primary activity.

Casinos are like indoor amusement parks for adults, with their main entertainment (and profits for the owner) coming from games of chance. Even though musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate themes help draw in the crowds, slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and other games of chance make up most of the billions that American casinos rake in each year.

Because every game of chance has a built-in advantage for the casino, it is very rare that a casino loses money on any given day. This virtual assurance of profit is what allows casinos to offer big bettors extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment, luxury hotel rooms and limo service. Lesser bettors receive comps such as free drinks and food while gambling and reduced-fare transportation.

The casino industry was dominated by organized crime for much of its history, with mafia figures supplying funds to build the facilities and helping establish their reputations. This taint, coupled with the fact that gambling was illegal in most other states until the latter half of the 20th century, kept legitimate businessmen from investing in casinos. As the industry expanded, mafia figures became involved with the properties in ways that detracted from their clean image.