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What Is a Casino?


A casino is a public place where people can gamble and play games of chance. It also features restaurants, stage shows and dramatic scenery. There are many variations on the concept, from the flashy Las Vegas casinos to quaint pai gow parlors in New York City’s Chinatown. In recent years, more and more states have legalized gambling, including some that previously had anti-gambling laws.

The main way that casinos make money is by taking a small percentage of the total amount of bets placed, a practice known as vigorish or rake. This can be less than two percent, but over time it adds up. Other revenue sources include the sale of food and drinks, and fees charged for use of special equipment such as card counting tables or video poker machines.

To maximize profits, most casinos offer a wide variety of perks to lure customers and reward them for their spending. The perks can be as simple as free drinks and discounted hotel rooms, or they can be as lavish as luxury suites, meals at top restaurants and even private plane flights. In 2005, the average casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old female with above-average income, according to studies by Roper Reports GfK NOP and the U.S. Gaming Panel by TNS.

Because of the large amounts of cash handled within a casino, there is always the possibility that patrons or employees will try to cheat or steal. To combat this, casinos employ a variety of security measures, including surveillance cameras and regular checks of roulette wheels and dice to detect deviations from their expected results.