A casino is a building that houses a variety of gambling games. It may also include hotel rooms, restaurants and non-gambling entertainment. While casinos add luxuries like musical shows and lighted fountains to attract customers, they would not exist without gambling. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno provide the billions of dollars in profits that casinos rake in every year.
Casinos make money by charging a small advantage on each game played. That advantage can be lower than two percent, but over millions of bets it earns the casino huge amounts of cash. This advantage is known as the vig or rake, and it can vary from game to game. Some casinos charge more than others, though this is usually because they offer different payouts on video poker and slots.
Although gambling in some form predates recorded history, the modern casino was invented in the United States. Nevada became a popular destination for Americans traveling to gamble, and other states began opening their own casinos. Today, casinos are massive complexes that offer a mindboggling number of gambling games and countless amenities to attract visitors.
The mob was an early investor in Reno and Las Vegas casinos, and it often exerted control over casino operations. But as real estate investors and hotel chains with deep pockets took over the business, they realized that casinos could be profitable without the taint of organized crime. This allowed legitimate businesses to buy out the mobsters and keep them out of their casinos.