A casino is a building where people can gamble and play games of chance.

Gambling is a popular pastime in many countries, and casinos have been around since the 17th century. While musical shows, lighted fountains and elaborate themes are often part of the attraction, the vast majority of the entertainment (and profits) in modern casinos comes from gambling.

How Casinos Make Their Money

Every game a casino offers has mathematically determined odds that give the casino a statistical edge over its patrons. This advantage is called the “house edge” or “vig.”

Casinos are able to afford lavish hotels, restaurants, stage shows and dramatic scenery because of their virtual assurance that they will turn a profit. This edge means that a small number of bets is enough to earn them millions of dollars in profit over time.

The Dark Side of the Business

During the 1920s and ’30s, gangsters used casinos to launder their money and hide money from authorities. However, federal crackdowns and the possibility of losing a gaming license at even the slightest hint of Mafia involvement mean that legitimate casinos keep their customers away from organized crime.

Security in the Casino

The modern casino uses sophisticated security measures to protect its guests and assets. This includes a physical security force that patrols the premises and responds to reports of suspicious activity. Moreover, specialized surveillance departments operate closed-circuit television systems to catch any crooks who might be hiding out in the back rooms or under a table.