A casino is a gambling establishment where patrons wager money on games of chance, or with some skill, such as poker. Casinos may also offer food and beverages, as well as luxury amenities like spas, hotels and theaters. They are often located in tourist areas, on American Indian reservations, or on cruise ships.
Gambling is one of the world’s most popular pastimes, and casinos have become a major source of revenue in many countries. Originally, casino gaming was the domain of organized crime groups such as the Mafia and others, but the mob’s fall from grace and federal crackdowns allowed businessmen with deep pockets to buy out their operations. Donald Trump and Hilton hotel chains are two notable examples of this. Casinos employ a wide range of security measures to keep out the mob and to monitor their games for signs of cheating or rigging. Video cameras cover the main floor, and table games are monitored by managers and pit bosses. Betting chips have built-in microcircuitry to enable casinos to monitor them minute by minute and quickly discover any statistical deviations from expected results.
Most casinos make their money by taking a percentage of each bet, a practice known as the vig or rake. This amount can be quite small, less than two percent of each bet. This gives the casino a mathematical advantage over the players and, as long as bets remain within an established limit, guarantees that it will earn a profit.