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What is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment. It may also be associated with hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Its name is derived from the Latin word cazino, meaning “little house” or “gambling house.” In the United States, casinos are licensed and regulated by state governments.

Casinos earn billions of dollars each year from their customers. This revenue benefits the casinos’ owners, investors, and shareholders, as well as local businesses, such as restaurants and shopping centers. Casinos also pay taxes and fees to the state and local governments.

Most casinos offer a variety of games. These include a wide range of slot machines, table games like blackjack and roulette, and poker. The majority of these games have mathematically determined odds that give the house an edge over the player. The advantage of the house can be expressed as a percentage of expected return to the player, or more precisely as the number of wins versus the number of losses.

Historically, casinos have been run by organized crime groups, who provide the capital and manage operations. This gave the casinos a seamy image, which was exacerbated by mob control of many of the most popular venues in Reno and Las Vegas. Later, real estate developers and hotel chains began investing in casinos, and were able to buy out the Mafia interests. Mafia involvement in casinos is now very rare, due to federal crackdowns and the potential for losing a license at even the slightest hint of mafia influence.