What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment where people play games of chance for money. Casinos offer a variety of games, including roulette, blackjack, craps, baccarat and video poker. All these games have a built-in advantage for the house, which is known as the house edge. The house edge can be as low as two percent, but it adds up over the millions of bets placed by casino patrons each year. This advantage provides the funds for casino attractions such as fountains, giant pyramids, towers and replicas of famous landmarks.

Casinos are found worldwide and attract millions of visitors each year. They have become a major source of revenue for many governments. However, they also create problems such as addiction, crime and bankruptcy. In the United States, casino gambling is regulated by state law. Most states prohibit casinos on tribal lands. However, some states have legalized gambling on American Indian reservations and on riverboats.

Early casinos were run by gangsters. They used their criminal money to finance the operations, but they had a bad reputation because of their connection with illegal activities such as drug dealing and extortion. Legitimate businessmen with deep pockets realized the potential of casinos and bought out the mob’s interest. Today, casinos are owned by companies with a better image and are free from mob interference. They use sophisticated surveillance systems to monitor activities in the casino and are able to spot suspicious patrons. Security cameras monitor every table, window and doorway and can be focused on particular suspicious activity.