A casino is a gambling establishment offering various types of gambling. Often casinos are combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and other tourist attractions. Some casinos feature live entertainment, such as stand-up comedy, concerts, or sports. A casino may also offer a variety of table and card games, as well as slot machines and other electronic gaming machines.
Modern casinos are like indoor amusement parks for adults, with the vast majority of their profits derived from gambling. Musical shows, lighted fountains, lavish hotels and elaborate themes help draw in the crowds, but the casino would not exist without games of chance like slots, blackjack, roulette, poker and craps that generate billions in profits each year for the owners.
In the past, many American casinos were mob run enterprises, but federal crackdowns and the fear of losing a gaming license at the slightest hint of Mafia involvement forced these operators to sell out or close up. Since then, casino owners with deep pockets such as real estate investors and hotel chains have purchased out the mobsters and established legitimate businesses that operate free from any mob influence.
Casinos make money by taking a small percentage of each game’s pot, a practice known as “vigorish” or the rake. This gives the house an edge over the players, which allows them to earn millions of bets each year. Large affluent gamblers are often given “comps” — free food, show tickets and even hotel rooms — based on the amount of time and money they spend at the casino.