What Is a Casino?


A casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. It is often built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, cruise ships, and other tourist attractions. In the United States, casinos are licensed and regulated by state governments. Some are owned and operated by Indian tribes. In addition to slot machines and table games, most casinos offer sports betting and other forms of legalized gambling.

Many casino games involve skill as well as luck, but there is one thing that is always guaranteed: the house will win. Every game has a built-in advantage, or house edge, which represents the average gross profit that the casino expects to make per patron. This advantage is built into the odds of each game, and it can be calculated before players place their wagers.

In the past, casino owners depended on mob money to keep their businesses afloat, but as their business grew they began to seek more reliable sources of capital. They found it in tourists who were willing to travel long distances to gamble. These “destination” visitors brought with them large sums of money, which the casinos could use to expand and improve their facilities.

Today, most casinos focus their resources on high-stakes patrons who can spend tens of thousands of dollars in a single visit. These big bettors are given special rooms separate from the main floor where they can play for higher stakes. In addition, they are given extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment, luxurious living quarters, reduced-fare transportation and other perks.