A casino is a place where people can play games of chance for money. Some casinos add a wide range of other luxurious features to attract gamblers, such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. But even less elaborate places that house gambling activities can be called a casino.
Casinos offer a variety of table and slot games, including blackjack, roulette and poker. Some have special areas for high-stakes players. These rooms are off the main floor and offer a more intimate atmosphere for those willing to invest large sums of money. The high-stakes area also often includes a private bar where players can drink and gamble.
Because all casino games have a mathematical expectation of winning, casinos are virtually guaranteed to make profits on every bet placed in the establishment. This mathematical certainty has a perverse side, however, in that compulsive gambling creates many gambling addicts who generate significant amounts of profit for the casino. Because of the high cost of treating problem gamblers and the loss in productivity from lost wages, many economists believe that casinos actually reduce overall community prosperity.
In the past, mobster money flowed steadily into Reno and Las Vegas casinos, giving them a seamy reputation that has persisted to this day. But as hotel chains, real estate investors and other legitimate businessmen saw the potential for huge profits, they bought out the mobsters and began operating their own casinos without the Mafia’s involvement.