What Is a Casino?


A casino (or gaming establishment) is a facility for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping and other tourist attractions. In the United States, casinos are regulated by state laws. Many are owned and operated by public corporations, while others are run by private individuals or families. Some are located in cities with large populations, while others are in smaller towns. In addition to gambling, a casino may also offer concerts, shows or other live entertainment.

Casinos make money by taking bets from customers on games of chance or with an element of skill, such as blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and video poker. Most casino games have a mathematical advantage for the house, which is expressed as the expected value of a bet or the house edge. This advantage can be calculated by using complex mathematics and is usually based on the rules of the game. The casino’s advantage can be reduced by skilled players, however.

Casinos compete to attract and retain high rollers, offering them free spectacular entertainment, transportation and elegant living quarters. They also give them comps worth tens of thousands of dollars, such as food and drinks while they gamble. These perks, plus the huge profits from these high bettors, allow casinos to earn billions of dollars each year. In addition, they generate substantial revenue from other sources, such as table minimums and commissions on rake. Casinos are a major source of employment for many people worldwide, but their business model has some dark sides.