A casino (also called a gambling establishment or a gaming house) is a facility for gambling. Casinos are most often found attached to hotels, restaurants or even separate buildings and offer a variety of games including poker, blackjack, roulette, craps and more. Casinos earn billions of dollars in profits each year and are among the most popular forms of entertainment around the world.
The primary source of revenue for casinos is gambling, in which patrons place wagers with currency or “chips” that represent money. Most games provide a predictable long-term advantage for the casino, known as the house edge or vigorish, but some allow players a chance to achieve a short-term profit by using skill. These players are referred to as advantage players.
In addition to gambling, casinos also serve as a gathering place for people and can provide entertainment, food and drink. They may also feature musical shows and lighted fountains to attract customers. In the United States, casinos are operated by state governments, tribal authorities or private corporations and are usually located in urban areas with high populations of tourists. They are sometimes subsidized by local governments in order to attract visitors and generate jobs. However, critics argue that the net economic benefits of casinos are negated by the costs associated with compulsive gambling, which diverts money from other community needs and creates a revolving door of problem gamblers who drain local resources. In addition, the large amounts of cash handled within casinos make them vulnerable to theft and fraud by both patrons and staff.