What is a Casino?

A Casino is a gambling establishment where games of chance are played. A modern casino often includes musical shows, shopping centers and elaborate hotels but the vast majority of its entertainment (and profits for the owner) come from games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno provide the billions of dollars in profit raked in by casinos each year.

Unlike other forms of gambling, most casinos have a social element. Players may be surrounded by other people as they play poker or craps, or they might shout encouragement at fellow slot machine players. In addition, alcoholic drinks are readily available and served by waiters circulating throughout the casino. In 2008, 24% of Americans had visited a Casino at least once.

As early as the late 1990s, casino owners realized that they could generate huge sums of money by marketing themselves as “destination” tourist attractions. They started offering big bettors extravagant inducements, including free spectacular entertainment, luxury transportation and elegant living quarters. They also subsidized local tours and other gambling-related activities.

Casinos make money by giving themselves a built-in statistical edge on all bets. This advantage is usually less than two percent, but the millions of bets made each day add up to significant amounts. It’s rare for a casino to lose money on any one game for even a single day, which is why they are so profitable. This virtual guarantee of gross profit enables casinos to spend enormous sums on things like flamboyant hotel rooms, lighted fountains and replicas of famous landmarks.