What Is a Casino?


Casino is a gambling establishment offering a wide variety of games of chance and skill to patrons. Some casinos are massive resorts, while others are smaller card rooms. Regardless of their size or location, successful casinos bring in billions each year for the companies, investors, and Native American tribes that own and operate them. They also generate tax revenue for local governments. In addition, slot machines and other casino-type games are becoming increasingly popular at racetracks and on boats and barges that cruise on waterways.

In the past, the word “casino” referred to small clubhouses where Italian immigrants held social events and gambling games. The mob once controlled many of these places, but federal crackdowns and the threat of losing a casino license at any hint of organized crime involvement pushed gangsters out of the business. Real estate investors and hotel chains then bought out the mobsters, and modern casinos are largely run by large corporations with deep pockets.

Every game in a casino has a built-in mathematical advantage for the house. This advantage is very small, often lower than two percent, but it can earn the casinos millions of dollars over time. It’s important for casino managers to understand this advantage and how it affects their profits, so they hire mathematicians with a background in gaming analysis.

Some casinos give big gamblers “comps” – free goods and services – such as hotel rooms, tickets to shows, or even limo service and airline tickets. They do this to attract and retain high rollers and promote their brand.