What Is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people can gamble on games of chance. Many casinos add a variety of luxuries to their offerings to attract patrons, such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. There have been less extravagant places that house gambling activities, though, and these would still technically be casinos.

Something about the large amounts of money handled in a casino encourages cheating and theft, either in collusion or by individuals. As a result, casinos spend a great deal of time and effort on security. Casinos use cameras, surveillance systems and rules of behavior to discourage crime.

In the past, organized crime figures provided much of the funding for Las Vegas and Reno casinos. Mafia members also took sole or partial ownership of some casinos and exerted control over others. These actions gave casinos a taint of illegal activity, and legitimate businessmen were reluctant to get involved.

A casino makes its money by taking a small percentage of bets. This small percentage is called the house edge or vig. It may be lower than two percent, but it adds up over the millions of bets placed each year. In addition, casinos take a cut of the winnings at table games like blackjack and baccarat. They also make profits from the video poker machines and the slot machines. The specialized mathematicians who calculate these numbers for casinos are called gaming mathematicians or gambling analysts. This information helps the casinos determine what the house edge and variance for each game are, so they can adjust their payouts accordingly.