A casino, also known as a gaming house, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos are most often built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops and other tourist attractions. Some casinos host live entertainment, such as stand-up comedy, concerts and sports events.
In the United States, casinos are licensed and regulated by state governments. Many are located in or around Las Vegas, Nevada; others operate in Reno, Atlantic City, New Jersey and other cities. A number of Native American tribes also have casinos. Casinos earn billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors, and gamblers that own and operate them. The profits from the games of chance they offer are derived from a built in advantage for the casino, which is called the house edge or vig.
The advantage varies depending on the game and the rules. For example, blackjack has a house edge of less than two percent; roulette has a house edge of no more than one percent; and video poker machines have an advantage of about five cents per spin. These profits make up the lion’s share of casino income.
In the early days of gambling, organized crime figures controlled many of the world’s largest casinos. They provided the capital to finance construction, renovation and operations. In turn, they received substantial fees and kickbacks from the gamblers who patronized their casinos. With the advent of legalized gambling, the mobsters lost their control over the industry. Real estate developers and hotel chains saw the potential profits and bought out the mob’s stakes in casinos.