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What is a Casino?

What is a Casino?


Casino is a gambling establishment offering a variety of games of chance or skill. Games include roulette, baccarat, keno, craps and poker, as well as slot machines and video poker. The house edge—the mathematically determined advantage the casino has over players—varies by game and can be as low as two percent in some cases. Casinos also take a percentage of the winnings (called the rake) from some games.

Casinos are a major source of revenue for some cities and states. In the United States, the most famous are in Las Vegas, Nevada; Atlantic City, New Jersey; and Macau, China. They are often built near hotels, restaurants, retail stores and cruise ships.

Some casinos are based on traditional European games such as roulette and blackjack, while others are designed around Far Eastern games like sic bo, pai gow, fan-tan, and baccarat. Casinos in Europe usually have high ceilings and chandeliers and are designed to create a glamorous atmosphere. They require players to dress formally.

In the past, many casinos were run by organized crime syndicates. But real estate developers and hotel chains with deep pockets realized the potential of casino gambling and began buying out mob interests. In addition, federal crackdowns on mobsters and the threat of losing a casino license at even the slightest hint of mob involvement have helped keep legitimate casinos out of the hands of organized crime. Some people become addicted to gambling, and studies show that compulsive gamblers generate a disproportionate amount of casino profits.