What Is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people can play various gambling games. Most casinos feature a variety of table games such as blackjack, craps and poker. Some also have a selection of slot machines and video poker. In the United States, casinos are regulated by state law and must adhere to certain minimum standards in terms of security and game offerings. Casinos are often located near or combined with hotels, restaurants and other entertainment facilities.

Most casino games have a built in house advantage, which ensures that the house always wins. The amount of this advantage varies between games but is generally lower than two percent. This edge is known as the vig or the rake. In games such as baccarat, the house takes a percentage of each wager, while in other games such as video poker, the house collects an hourly fee from players. Casinos may also give away complimentary items to gamblers, which are called comps.

In the twentieth century, many casinos expanded to become a major tourist attraction and resort destination. They rely on a mix of marketing strategies to attract and keep customers, including offering a large variety of gambling options. Casinos are also designed to appeal to the senses, using colors and other stimuli that trigger specific emotions. For example, casinos are often lit in bright neon, and more than 15,000 miles of neon tubing is used along the Las Vegas Strip.

Although casinos are a major source of revenue for some cities and states, they tend to have a negative impact on the local economy. Critics argue that the high prevalence of gambling addiction in casinos detracts from local businesses and causes economic distress, especially when compulsive gamblers use casino profits to finance other vices. Additionally, casino critics point to research indicating that the social costs of gambling far outweigh any financial benefits.