What Is a Casino?

A casino is a building where people can gamble and play games of chance. It’s that twinkly, noisy, glitzy place where your grandmother takes weekend bus rides with her friends to roll the dice and hope that lady luck is on her side. It’s also a place where big money is made and lost.

Casinos earn most of their revenue by taking a small percentage of all bets, which they call a ‘rake’. In addition to a house edge on the games they offer, they often take commissions on the sale of drinks and cigarettes within their facilities, and on any winning bets placed by patrons who are not playing against the house (for example, in poker).

Regardless of their size or location, all casinos must pay taxes, employ employees, and provide security services. The large amounts of currency handled by casinos make them a prime target for theft, both by patrons and staff members. Because of this, most casinos have extensive security measures. For instance, many employ a high-tech eye-in-the-sky system where cameras monitor every table, window, and doorway.

In the past, mobsters controlled several casinos in Las Vegas and Reno, providing them with cash to fund expansion and renovation. However, federal crackdowns and the prospect of losing a gambling license at even the slightest hint of mafia involvement have forced legitimate businessmen to step into the void. The result has been that the mafia now has only a minor presence in the gambling industry. Real estate investors, hotel chains, and other corporate entities now run most casinos.

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