What is a Casino?


A casino is a building where people can gamble and play games of chance. Some casinos are famous for their spectacular fountain shows, others for their luxurious accommodations. A few casinos have even become synonymous with certain games of chance, like the Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco and the Casino Lisboa in Lisbon.

While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels help draw in gamblers, casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars in profits raked in each year by the games of chance themselves. Slot machines, black jack, roulette, craps and keno account for most of this money.

The math behind casino gambling is a simple one: the house always wins. While it is true that some patrons can beat the casino, they are very rare and, from the casino’s point of view, the odds of losing are almost guaranteed. To compensate for this mathematical certainty, casino operators offer a variety of perks to encourage gamblers to spend more money and to reward those who do. These perks are called “comps,” and they can include free hotel rooms, dinners, show tickets and limo service.

Before the days of federal anti-mafia crackdowns, mobster money flowed into Reno and Las Vegas casinos at a steady pace. Mafia owners became personally involved in the management of some casinos and even took sole or partial ownership. Today, the casino industry is dominated by large real estate investors and hotel chains that are willing to invest huge sums of capital in order to get their share of the gambling pie.