A casino is a gambling establishment where a variety of games of chance are played. The majority of the entertainment and profits for the casino owner come from gambling, even though the typical modern casino has a lot of other things going on to help draw in people (musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers).

Casino gambling was illegal throughout most of American history. When it first appeared in Nevada in the late nineteenth century, it was heavily supported by organized crime figures who had plenty of cash from their drug dealing and other illegal rackets. These mobsters not only provided the bankroll but also took sole or partial ownership of many casinos and exerted control over how they were run.

Most casinos specialize in certain kinds of gambling. In addition to poker and blackjack, most offer craps, roulette, and other table games. Some also have Far Eastern games such as sic bo (which became popular in the 1990s and is now found in a few American casinos), fan-tan, or pai gow poker.

Casinos make money by charging a “vig” or “rake” on some games. This is generally a percentage of the total bet, but it can vary by game and casino. The vig helps offset the house’s built in advantage, which can be as low as two percent but adds up over millions of bets. Other ways casinos make money are from food, drink, and hotel rooms. Casinos also collect taxes from gamblers, which helps to pay for security, maintenance, and other expenses.