What is a Casino?

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A casino is a gambling establishment offering patrons the opportunity to win money through games of chance. Games such as blackjack, roulette, poker, baccarat and slot machines are the primary sources of billions in profits that casinos generate annually. In addition to gaming, many casinos also offer other entertainment activities and attractions such as musical shows, restaurants and shopping centers.

Most casino games involve an element of skill or at least the appearance of skill; however, the house always has a mathematical edge over players. This is true whether a game is played in person or over the internet. This house edge is known as the house advantage. Casinos make a profit on most games by taking a percentage of the total amount of money wagered on the table or machine. The casino’s profit is referred to as the vig or rake.

Although a small number of casinos are run by mobster families, most modern casinos are owned by large hotel chains and real estate investors such as Donald Trump. The owners of these establishments have deep pockets and can afford to ignore any mob interference that might threaten their business. Casinos are also heavily equipped with surveillance systems such as the high-tech “eye in the sky” that allow security personnel to see patrons at every table, window and doorway. In some casinos, sophisticated chip tracking technology is used to monitor exactly how much is being bet minute by minute and to immediately discover any anomaly; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover quickly any statistical deviation from their expected results.

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