What is a Casino?
A casino is a gambling establishment where a wide variety of games of chance are offered. Typically, these include slot machines and table games such as roulette, baccarat, poker and blackjack. Many casinos also offer entertainment such as stage shows and dramatic scenery. Some of the world’s best casinos can be found in cities like Las Vegas, Macau and Monaco. The Bellagio is perhaps the most famous, thanks to its dancing fountains and its appearance in the movie Ocean’s 11.
Casinos earn their profits by taking a small percentage of each bet made by patrons. This can be as low as two percent, but over millions of bets it adds up. In addition to this rake, casinos also profit from the mathematical expectancy of each game. This advantage is called the house edge.
The exact origin of gambling is unknown, but it appears to have been common throughout history. Almost every society has had some form of gaming to pass the time and sometimes even make money. It was not until the late 1960s that legitimate casino businesses started to flourish, thanks to Nevada’s legalization of gambling and other states’ liberalizing their laws.
These new casinos were able to attract big bettors from all over the country and beyond. The casino business was so lucrative that mob figures with plenty of cash from other rackets such as drug dealing and extortion began to invest in them, becoming sole or partial owners. Eventually, real estate investors and hotel chains with deep pockets bought out the mobs. Today, the majority of Nevada’s casinos are owned by legitimate businesses. During the 1980s, other American casinos started to appear on Indian reservations and on riverboats.