A casino, or gambling house, is a building or room where people can play a variety of games of chance for money. Some casinos also have food and drink outlets and serve as entertainment venues.

The games played in a casino differ but all involve putting some money at risk against the house. Some of the more popular games include poker, blackjack, roulette and slot machines. The casino industry is a lucrative one, with the average casino making a profit of over two percent per year. This is enough to attract tourists and build elaborate hotels, fountains and replicas of famous landmarks.

While many gamblers like to think that they can beat the house, this isn’t always the case. The house always has a small advantage over the player, which is known as the “house edge.” The advantage can vary from game to game, but it is typically lower than one percent. In addition to the house edge, casinos earn money from a variety of other sources, such as a percentage of bets placed by players.

In the early days of Nevada gambling, organized crime figures funded a number of casinos. Mobster money brought prestige to the Strip and helped legitimize gaming. However, as casino ownership shifted to legitimate businessmen with deeper pockets—including Donald Trump and the Hilton hotel chain—mobsters found themselves shut out of the action. Federal crackdowns on gambling-related crime and the threat of losing a license at even the hint of Mafia involvement now keep mobsters out of casinos.