What Is a Casino?


A casino (also called a gambling house or a gaming establishment) is an establishment where people can gamble by playing games of chance or skill, such as poker or blackjack. In the United States, casino gambling is legal in Nevada and 37 other states, while the rest limit or ban it. Casinos are usually combined with hotels, restaurants and shopping centers and are often located in towns with high tourism traffic. Some casinos also offer other types of gaming, such as video lottery terminals.

Most casinos have a house edge, which is the statistical advantage that the casino has over the player for each game played. This house edge exists because the casino is a business and must make money in order to stay in business. In games that have a significant element of skill, such as blackjack and Spanish 21, the house edge can be reduced by learning basic strategy. The casino can further reduce its edge by using more decks of cards, by adding extra dealers or by raising the minimum bet.

In the long run, however, the mathematical odds are always against a casino game player. Therefore, the vast majority of casinos earn their profit by attracting customers and making them spend more than they win. This is why casinos frequently give comps to players, such as free hotel rooms and shows or reduced-fare transportation and food. Some casinos have even been known to give away entire vacations to their biggest spenders.