What is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment that offers games of chance. The casino industry is huge, generating billions in profits for its owners each year. The casinos themselves are often lavish, with exotic decor and a mindboggling number of gaming options. They also feature hotels, restaurants, non-gambling game rooms, bars and swimming pools. Many are themed to famous cities or events, and they are frequently designed to be attractive to families.

The majority of casino gambling is done at table games such as blackjack, baccarat and roulette. Each has a specific set of odds that give the house an advantage over the players. The casino earns its money from the gamblers by charging a commission known as the rake. Table game profits are usually divided among the players, but in games such as poker the casino collects a fixed percentage of each pot.

In the early days of casino gambling, organized crime figures were often heavily involved. Mafia money flowed freely into Reno and Las Vegas, and mobster owners took sole or partial ownership of many casinos. However, legitimate businessmen were hesitant to invest in such enterprises because of the taint of illegal activities associated with them. It wasn’t until Nevada legalized casinos that other states began to open their own. Today, casinos are everywhere. They are a major attraction for tourists and are an important source of income for local governments. They also affect property values in nearby communities.