What Is a Casino?


A casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. It may also be combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and entertainment venues. Most casinos in the United States are licensed and regulated by state governments. Some are owned by corporations, while others are operated by private individuals or families. Casinos are often surrounded by bright lights and noise. They feature games of chance, such as slot machines and table games like blackjack and roulette. In addition to the games of chance, casinos make their money by providing drinks and food, gambling aids such as dice or chips, and other services.

A defining feature of casino gambling is that the house always wins. The house edge, which is the statistical advantage of the casino over the player, is built into every game. This gives the casino a virtual guarantee of gross profit. To offset this, casinos attract gamblers by offering free shows and other amenities. They also offer comps, which are free goods or services based on a gambler’s spending habits. These include free meals, drinks, hotel rooms, and limo service.

Although mobsters once controlled many American casinos, they have since been replaced by real estate developers and hotel chains with deep pockets. Because of fears of mob interference and state laws that penalize gangster involvement in the gaming industry, casinos have moved away from their roots as gambling dens to become entertainment centers. They have also been increasingly located on American Indian reservations, which are exempt from some state antigambling statutes.