A casino is a place where people gamble. While glitzy casinos with fountains, restaurants and musical shows may attract visitors, gambling—and the billions of dollars in profits it generates—provides the majority of a casino’s revenue. Casinos have a number of built-in advantages that ensure the house will win in the long run, and those odds are a certainty for every game played.

Gambling is a game of chance, and something about that gamble beckons people to try to cheat, steal or scam their way into winning. But if you have even the most basic grasp of math and economics, you’ll realize that there is only one way to consistently win at casino games: play them with a strict budget and never exceed your bankroll.

A Casino

The casino industry was once controlled by organized crime, and mob-run casinos were notorious for their seedy conditions and shady deals. But as real estate developers and hotel chains discovered the potential of gambling, they bought out the mafia, shifted the emphasis away from gangster control and modernized the businesses. With increased federal crackdowns and the threat of losing a gaming license at even the slightest hint of mob involvement, the mafia has lost much of its grip on casinos.

The casino business is based on gambling, and casinos would not exist without it. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette and craps provide the billions of dollars in profits that casinos rake in each year. But the bright lights, giveaways and bling are not enough to mask the fact that casinos are basically a bunch of gambling halls where almost everyone loses.