What is a Casino?

A casino is a place where people can play games of chance for money. The exact origin of gambling is unknown, but it is believed that in some form it has been part of almost every society throughout history. Modern casinos are like indoor amusement parks for adults, with the vast majority of the entertainment (and profits for the owner) coming from games of chance. Slot machines, keno, roulette, blackjack and craps are among the most popular games in casinos.

While lighted fountains, shopping centers and musical shows help attract visitors, casinos would not exist without the games of chance that provide the billions in profits they rake in every year. Casinos are built around these games and their mathematically determined odds, which give the house an advantage over players. This edge can be as low as two percent, but it adds up over the millions of bets placed each year by patrons. Casinos also collect a fee from players who play table games such as poker, a percentage of the pot that is known as the vig or the rake.

In the early days of Nevada casino gambling, mob money supplied much of the capital that kept Reno and Las Vegas growing. However, when legitimate businessmen with deep pockets saw how profitable casinos could be, they began buying out the mobsters and taking sole or partial ownership of casinos. Federal anti-mob crackdowns and the fear of losing a gaming license at even the slightest hint of mafia involvement now keep the mob out of most casino businesses.

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