What Is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It is often built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships or other tourist attractions. Some casinos host live entertainment such as stand-up comedy, concerts or sports events. In modern usage, the term casino can also refer to a video gaming machine or electronic game that offers players a variety of choices or a collection of games.

The casino is a key part of the tourist experience in Las Vegas, and some other cities around the world. Many casinos feature elaborate decorations and architecture including statues, fountains and replicas of famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower. Some casinos are located inside hotels while others are free-standing buildings. The casino industry is a major source of employment in several countries, particularly in the United States.

In the early days of casino gambling, mob money funded a number of operations in Nevada, especially in Reno and Las Vegas. Despite the seamy image of organized crime, legitimate businessmen soon saw the potential profits to be had and started opening casinos without mob involvement. Today, the mobsters are largely out of the picture. They still fund some casinos, but federal crackdowns and the fear of losing their gambling license at even the slightest hint of mob involvement mean they are no longer a dominant force in the industry.

Casinos make money by charging a percentage of each bet to the house, which is known as the “vigorish” or rake. This advantage can be as low as two percent for some games but, over time, this small percentage can add up to large amounts of money. Aside from the vig, casinos also earn money from customers through comps – free goods or services given to frequent visitors and high rollers.