A casino is an entertainment venue with the primary source of income (in addition to other revenue streams like dining, entertainment and shopping) coming from gambling. While a modern casino may look more like an indoor amusement park with musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate hotels, casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars in profits from games of chance such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat.
In the early days of the gambling industry, casinos were dominated by mobster families who used them to control illegal gambling operations and to make money off legitimate ones as well. However, real estate investors and hotel chains with deep pockets eventually bought out the mobsters and turned casinos into lucrative businesses.
Most casino games have built in mathematical odds that give the house a small advantage over the patrons; this is known as the house edge. The house edge can be quite low (as little as two percent) for some games, but this small advantage adds up over time and millions of bets to generate substantial revenues for casinos. The house edge is also sometimes called the vig or rake.
While some of the most famous casinos in the world are in glamorous locales such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City, there are plenty more across the country and around the globe. In this article we’ll take a tour of some of the most famous casinos and learn what makes them tick. We’ll find out how they get people to gamble, why some gamblers cheat and steal and how casinos stay safe.