What is a Casino?


A Casino, also known as a gambling house or a gaming establishment, is a place where people can play games of chance for money or other items of value. The casino business attracts billions of dollars each year for the owners, operators and investors as well as local governments, Native American tribes and state agencies. The casino industry encompasses both commercial and non-commercial operations, including traditional land-based casinos and those that operate on cruise ships and racetracks. Casinos may also include other amenities such as restaurants, hotel rooms and retail shopping.

Although many of the games played in casinos require some degree of skill, most have a built in advantage for the house. This advantage, called the “house edge” is usually less than two percent but can vary depending on the game. Slot machines and video poker are the economic backbone of most American casinos, generating more than 70 percent of their revenue from bets made by customers. Craps and roulette draw bigger bettors, but their house advantages are typically lower than two percent.

Some casinos specialize in high-stakes gambling, drawing in gamblers whose total bets can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars. These high rollers are often given special treatment, such as private rooms and luxury suites away from the main floor. Statistically, the typical casino gambler is a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with above average income. Casinos try to maximize their gambling revenues by offering perks such as cheap food, discounted travel packages and free show tickets.

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