What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment where patrons can gamble and play games of chance. Its customers may be primarily tourists, but casinos are also often found on American Indian reservations, where they are not subject to state antigambling statutes. There are more than 3,000 casinos worldwide.

Most casino patrons are male, and the average age of a casino gambler is forty-six. These demographics reflect the fact that most people who visit casinos are not professional gamblers, but rather average working folks who enjoy taking weekend bus trips to casino destinations with their friends and family.

Regardless of the games offered, most casino games come with a built-in advantage for the house, which is how casinos make their money. This edge is usually low, averaging less than two percent of bets placed by casino patrons. Casinos use this money to pay employees, pay utilities and renovate the facility. They may also use it to purchase large-scale architectural features such as statues, fountains, pyramids, towers and replicas of famous landmarks.

Despite their seamy reputation, casinos are legitimate businesses. They are owned by individuals or groups, and they rely on bets placed by people who know what they are doing. Nevertheless, casinos still attract organized crime figures who use their funds to invest in the industry. Mob-controlled casinos are a mainstay in Las Vegas and Reno, and mafia figures have taken sole or partial ownership of several of them. Mob involvement has diluted the image of casinos and slowed their growth outside of Nevada.