A casino (or “gambling house”) is an establishment where people can play games of chance for money. Some casinos also offer hotel rooms, restaurants, retail shops, and other entertainment. They are usually located in cities with large populations and serve as tourist attractions. Many of them have become integrated into larger resorts and theme parks.

Most casino games involve a degree of skill and can be addictive. In addition, spending prolonged periods sitting and playing can lead to health problems. Nevertheless, casino gambling provides an income to local residents and stimulates the economy. It is especially important in areas where jobs and other sources of income are scarce.

Casinos make money by accepting bets from their patrons and making a profit, either through the game’s rules or because of a built-in advantage, called the house edge. The house edge gives the casino a mathematical expectation of winning, and it is rare for the house to lose money on any one day. This virtual guarantee of gross profit allows casinos to offer their high-stakes gamblers extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment, travel and elegant living quarters, as well as reduced-fare transportation and hotel rooms.

In the United States, legalized casinos bring in a significant amount of tax revenue for the jurisdiction in which they are located. This income is often a lifeline for struggling community services, and can help politicians avoid budget cuts or raise taxes in other sectors of the economy.