A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance or skill. A successful casino can bring in billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors and Native American tribes that own and operate them. Casino gambling takes place in massive hotel-casino complexes on the Las Vegas Strip, at riverboats and barges on waterways across the country, and at racetracks converted to racinos.
Casinos make their money by accepting bets on games that have a built in advantage for the house, known as the mathematical expectancy of winning. This advantage can be as low as two percent, but over time it can add up to enough profit to cover the cost of elaborate hotels, fountains, towers and replicas of famous landmarks.
There are many games that can be played in a casino, and the specific games offered in a given location depend on local tastes and gambling laws. The most popular casino games in the United States include poker, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and slot machines. In addition to these classics, some casinos offer more exotic games, such as sic bo (which was introduced in the 1990s), fan-tan and pai gow.
To attract and keep customers, a modern casino offers a wide variety of amenities. Free food and drinks are a staple, as are cheap or discounted show tickets and hotel rooms. Casinos also use chips instead of cash to avoid security issues. The chips make the casino seem less like an actual gambling establishment and can make it easier to track losses and wins.