A casino, also known as a gaming house, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops and other tourist attractions. In some countries, casinos are operated by government-owned enterprises. Others are owned and operated by private businesses. Some people are tempted to cheat or steal in order to gain an advantage at a game of chance; others simply seek the thrill of gambling. All casinos provide a wide variety of games and gambling opportunities.
Casinos make their money by giving away complimentary items to gamblers, or comps, in exchange for a portion of the players’ bets. They also take a commission, called the rake, from games that require an element of skill, such as blackjack and video poker. In addition, they may charge fees for admission.
In the past, casinos tried to draw in as many customers as possible by offering perks like discounted travel packages and free show tickets. In the twentieth century, they began to focus on high-stakes gamblers, or “high rollers,” whose bets can be in the tens of thousands of dollars. High rollers are often given special rooms and amenities, and receive personal attention from casino staff.
In the past, casinos were often run by mobster families, but mob influence was reduced as real estate investors and hotel chains gained control of the industry. Today, some states (like Iowa and New Jersey) have legalized casino gambling, and Nevada is still renowned for its large casinos. However, the costs associated with problem gambling and loss of productivity due to gambling addiction offset any economic benefits.