What Is a Casino?


A casino is a facility where people can gamble and play games of chance. It also provides a variety of other entertainment activities. Some casinos feature floor shows, restaurants, and shops. Casinos are often located in areas with high population density and may be accessible by public transportation. In the United States, most casino gambling is legal in states where it is regulated by state law. In some countries, casino gambling is illegal.

In the twentieth century, many casinos grew more sophisticated in their offerings and customer service. They began to target “high rollers,” or people who gamble a great deal of money. This group is important to a casino because its bets have a large impact on the casino’s gross profits. In order to encourage this group to continue gambling, the casino offers them luxurious inducements. These can include free tickets to top entertainment, expensive hotel rooms and suites, reduced-fare transportation, and other extravagant perks.

Casinos make money by charging a percentage of every bet placed by patrons. This percentage is called the vig or the rake. It can be less than two percent, but this amount adds up over the millions of bets placed by patrons each year. This profit is sufficient to finance casinos with fountains, pyramids, towers, and replicas of famous landmarks.

In addition to the usual casino offerings of table games, card games, and slots, some casinos offer regional variations of traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo (which was introduced in Europe during the 1990s), fan-tan, and pai gow. They may also have a few exotic games such as two-up in Australia, boule in France, and kalooki in Britain.