A Casino, also known as a gambling house or gaming hall, is a facility that houses various forms of gambling activities. Modern casinos offer a wide variety of gambling games and are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. The casino industry is one of the world’s most lucrative and is characterized by intense competition between gaming operators.

A casino makes money by charging bettors a small percentage of the total amount of their wagers. This house edge is very small, often less than two percent, but it adds up over the millions of bets placed each year by casino patrons. It is this virtual assurance of gross profit that allows casinos to lavish big bettors with extravagant inducements, such as free spectacular entertainment, transportation and elegant living quarters.

Casinos are usually designed with bright, gaudy colors and floor and wall coverings that stimulate the senses. Clocks are very rare in casino interiors, as people lose track of time when they’re lost in the gambling action. Windows are kept very dark, and the absence of clocks encourages players to gamble for hours without realizing how long they’ve been doing it.

During the heyday of organized crime in Reno and Las Vegas, mobster money flowed into casinos. Mafia members not only provided the bankroll, but took sole or partial ownership of some casinos and even influenced outcomes of individual games through intimidation of casino staff.