What Is a Casino?

A casino is a building where people can gamble and play games of chance. It has a very high level of decorum and the people who work there treat your money with absolute respect. There are also a lot of controls in place to prevent dealers from pocketing chips or moving them around the table. For instance, many casinos don’t allow their dealers to wear watches, and they must clear their hands every time they leave a game table or move them from the chip rack to another area.

In the United States, there are about 3,000 legal casinos. They are most often found in states that permit gambling, but they have also appeared on American Indian reservations and outside of Nevada. They may have spectacular fountains, statues, towers or replicas of famous landmarks, and they offer a variety of casino games, including poker, baccarat, blackjack, roulette, craps and video slots. Some have hotels, restaurants and non-gambling game rooms for the whole family.

Almost 51 million people visited a casino in the United States in 2002. That’s about one quarter of the population over 21. Casinos are a major industry, and they generate more income than many other types of business. The main source of casino income is the vig, or house edge, which is built into every game. This edge can be small – lower than two percent, for example – but it adds up over the millions of bets placed by customers.