A casino, or gambling house, is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. It is often combined with hotels, restaurants and retail shopping. People can also visit a casino to enjoy the live entertainment, such as shows and comedy acts. In some countries, casinos are licensed and regulated by the government.

The history of casinos in the United States is closely linked to the development of legalized gambling. When Nevada passed a law to allow casino gambling in the 1950s, organized crime jumped at the opportunity. Mob money was used to finance the construction of Las Vegas and Reno casinos, and mob members became involved with the operation of some. They took sole or partial ownership of casinos, influenced the outcome of some games and even threatened casino personnel.

While some casinos add many luxuries to draw in customers, the majority of their revenue comes from the games themselves. Each game has a built in advantage for the casino, and it is extremely rare for a casino to lose money on a single day. The advantage is typically less than two percent, but over the millions of bets placed by patrons each year, that edge generates enough income to build hotel towers, fountains and replicas of famous landmarks. The casino also earns money from players who use specific strategies, such as card counting, to improve their chances of winning.

In addition to gaming, casinos have a wide variety of other entertainment options, such as restaurants, shops, and nightclubs. They also employ a large number of employees, providing jobs for many local residents. In turn, this economic activity benefits the hospitality and tourism industries, as well as other businesses in the community.