What is a Casino?

A casino, or gaming hall, is a place where people can play gambling games such as poker, blackjack, and roulette. Whether it’s in massive resorts on the Las Vegas strip or in small card rooms, casinos generate billions each year for their owners and investors, and provide jobs for thousands of workers. Casino gambling also provides millions in taxes and revenue to local communities, including the state of Nevada, where Vegas is located. In addition, many Native American tribes run successful casinos.

Unlike lotteries, which involve public funds and are conducted by private businesses, casinos are legal commercial enterprises that are subject to state and federal regulations. Their revenue comes from the money patrons gamble and from the commissions paid to dealers or croupiers. Most casinos offer both table games and slot machines. Many of these games require an element of skill and have mathematically determined odds that ensure the house always has a profit margin over the players. The house edge is often called the house’s advantage or “vig.” Casinos may also give away free or discounted food, drinks, and entertainment to attract customers.

Most casinos are operated by independent companies with deep pockets and a desire to distance themselves from any mob connection. The result has been that the mob has found it much more difficult to control or own a casino than it did in the past. As a result, casinos are now often owned by real estate investors and hotel chains that have little interest in alienating their customers or losing their gambling business to the Mafia.