A casino is a gambling establishment with an emphasis on table games, such as blackjack, poker and roulette. The word is also used to describe a facility for certain types of horse racing.
Casinos are typically large, lavish buildings that contain numerous games of chance and skill, as well as restaurants, bars, dance floors and other entertainment. A wide variety of gambling activities take place in casinos, from traditional table games to electronic machines and video poker. Most casinos have security measures in place to prevent cheating and stealing, either by patrons or staff.
The casino industry has grown rapidly since the 1960s, when Nevada legalized the business. Other states quickly realized the potential for revenue and opened their own casinos. Today, the majority of U.S. casinos are located in Nevada and Atlantic City, although there are a significant number of Native American-owned casinos.
Casinos make money by imposing a statistical advantage on players, which is known as the house edge. The advantage can be very small (lower than two percent), but over time it adds up to enormous profits, which help fund the hotels, fountains, pyramids and towers that adorn many casino properties. Critics argue that the disproportionate profits generated by the casino industry contribute to problems like compulsive gambling, which costs communities a great deal in lost productivity and treatment costs.