What Is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment that features games of chance and gambling. It may also include a hotel, restaurant and other entertainment options. It is often combined with a convention center, shopping areas and other tourist attractions. It can be found in massive resorts as well as small card rooms. In the United States, casinos are regulated by state laws and are often licensed. Casinos can be owned by corporations, investors, tribes and even states. They generate billions of dollars in revenue each year.

The earliest casinos were run by organized crime mobs that used the profits from their drug dealing and extortion activities to fund them. But as gambling became legalized, legitimate businessmen grew reluctant to get involved in casinos because of their seamy image. Mob control of casinos was eventually ended as the mob’s money was replaced with capital from private investors, such as Donald Trump and the Hilton hotel chain.

The vast majority of a casino’s revenue is generated by gamblers who play a game of chance or skill, such as poker, blackjack, roulette, craps and slot machines. Because most games have a mathematical expectation that the house will win, casinos must provide substantial inducements to attract and keep gamblers. These inducements are called comps. They include free or reduced-fare transportation, luxury hotel rooms, meals and beverages (including alcoholic drinks) while playing, and special events such as stage shows. The comps and the large amount of cash handled in casinos make them susceptible to theft and cheating by both patrons and staff. Security cameras, both in use and on the ceiling, are a vital part of any casino’s security system.

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