What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shopping and cruise ships. They also may include entertainment venues for concerts, stand-up comedy and sports events. In some countries, casinos are licensed and regulated by government authorities. In others, they are privately owned and operated.

In the United States, many states changed their laws in the latter half of the 20th century to permit casinos, especially on American Indian reservations not subject to state anti-gambling statutes. Casinos are also found in some other nations around the world, particularly in Europe and Asia.

In most casinos, the games available are designed with a built-in advantage for the house. That edge, sometimes called the “vig” or a “rake,” is what gives the casino its profit. It can be small—less than two percent in some cases—but over time it adds up. Casino managers hire mathematicians and computer programmers to figure out the best payouts for their machines and what their house edges should be. They use this information to maximize their profits and minimize the chances of losing too much money. Casinos also employ customer service staff to answer questions about their operations. Large bonuses and rewards programs attract players and help them stay loyal to the casino. In some cases, the bonuses are tied to specific game play, such as poker. In others, the bonus is based on total player loyalty.

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