A casino, also called a gaming house or a gambling house, is a place where people can engage in gambling activities. While casinos may offer other luxuries such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows to attract patrons, they are primarily places for gambling.

Modern casinos are like indoor amusement parks for adults, with the vast majority of entertainment (and profits for the owners) coming from games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat provide the billions of dollars in profits raked in by casinos each year. While other forms of entertainment such as musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels help draw in the customers, these facilities would not exist without the games of chance.

Casinos make money by taking a small percentage of each bet placed on their games. The percentage taken can vary from game to game, but the average is less than two percent. This advantage, combined with millions of bets placed each day by patrons, gives the casino a virtual assurance of gross profit. This profit is the source of money for casinos to build elaborate hotels, lighted fountains and towers, and replicas of famous landmarks.

Until the mid-1980s, the casino business was mostly controlled by mobster families and other gangster organizations. However, investment banks realized that the casinos were a valuable asset and began buying out the mobsters. This, combined with federal crackdowns on the mob, has allowed legitimate casino owners to control many casinos.