What is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment where a variety of games of chance are played. It also offers food, drinks and stage shows. A casino is a popular form of entertainment that has been around for centuries. Casinos can be found in many parts of the world and vary in size from large resort casinos to small card rooms. They often feature bright and sometimes gaudy floor and wall coverings that create a stimulating atmosphere and help players lose track of time. The color red is a common theme because it is believed to stimulate the brain and encourage gamblers.

Most casino games have a built in statistical advantage for the house that is determined by mathematics. The house edge can be very small (lower than two percent), but the advantage adds up over time and millions of bets placed by casino patrons. The house profits from this statistical advantage through a commission called the rake, or in games like poker where the house takes a percentage of winnings, the vigorish.

Early casinos were financed by mob money, which was used to hide criminal activity from authorities. As the casinos became more profitable, legitimate businessmen with deep pockets such as real estate developers and hotel owners began to invest. Today, despite continuing mafia influence in some Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos, federal crackdowns and the threat of losing a gaming license at the slightest hint of mob involvement keep mobsters out of most of the country’s casino businesses.