What Is a Casino?


A casino, also known as a gambling house or a gaming house, is an establishment where people can gamble. These places are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, cruise ships, and other tourist attractions. Some casinos specialize in specific types of games, such as baccarat, blackjack, and roulette. They may be located in cities or on private islands. A number of countries have laws regulating the operation of casinos.

Most casino games have a built in statistical advantage for the house, sometimes as small as two percent. This edge, referred to as the “house edge” in table games, is mathematically determined and independent of skill level. In games with a skill element, such as blackjack or video poker, the house edge can be reduced by using basic strategy. The house may also earn money from games where players do not compete against the house, such as poker, by taking a commission, known as the rake.

The casino industry has grown rapidly in recent decades, especially in the United States. Several American states have legalized casino gambling, including Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Iowa. In addition, some American Indian reservations have opened casinos, and many foreign countries now have casinos. Critics argue that, despite the high profits generated by some casinos, they damage local economies by diverting spending away from other forms of entertainment and by contributing to problem gambling. They also say that the costs of treating compulsive gamblers and lost productivity from the jobs of those who are addicted to gambling outweigh any economic benefits from the casinos.

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