What Is a Casino?

A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. Some casinos are built with themed architecture and include stage shows, but the majority of casino buildings simply offer gaming tables and machines. Many casinos also offer a variety of dining options and other amenities.

Casinos make money by charging players a small percentage of each bet they place, which is called the house edge. The house edge may be as low as two percent, but it can add up over the millions of bets that are placed by casino patrons each year. To offset this, casinos focus on customer service and offer perks to high-spending customers, known as comps. These can include free hotel rooms, buffets and show tickets, as well as limo service and airline tickets.

As casino gambling expanded throughout Nevada in the 1950s, organized crime figures began investing in casinos to capitalize on the growing number of vacationers visiting the area. Unlike legitimate businessmen, mobster investors were not concerned about the seamy image of casinos and often took sole or partial ownership of the properties. They also used the money to finance their illegal rackets, such as extortion and drug trafficking, and even threatened casino employees with violence.

Due to the large amounts of money handled in casinos, security is a big concern. Cameras and other technological measures are in place to monitor the activities of patrons and staff to prevent cheating, stealing and collusion.