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What is a Casino?

A casino (or gaming house) is a place where various types of gambling activities take place. Many casinos are combined with hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, and other tourist attractions.

There are 340 legal land-based casinos in the United States, including over 100 in Nevada. Some casinos also offer sports betting, horse racing and other forms of wagering. Unlike most other gambling establishments, casinos are designed to maximize profit through its games of chance. Each game has an established mathematical expectancy that, when applied correctly, assures the house of a certain percentage of total wagers. Casinos may further increase their profits by offering extravagant inducements to big bettors in the form of free spectacular entertainment, luxury living quarters, reduced-fare transportation and free drinks and cigarettes while gambling.

Casinos also earn money from table games such as blackjack and roulette that require skill, and from video poker machines and other electronic devices that do not compete against the players but rather generate a random number sequence. In addition to these traditional games, some casinos offer a variety of card games like baccarat and trente et quarante.

In the past, many of these gambling venues were financed by organized crime gangsters. Mob money flowed into Reno and Las Vegas, and mobsters often took sole or partial ownership of the casinos and even directed operations on the floor. But a combination of federal crackdowns and the rise of legitimate hotel and resort companies with deep pockets put an end to this. Casinos also spend a great deal of time and money on security. They use technology such as chips with built-in microcircuitry that communicate with tables to record the amount of money wagered minute by minute, and they monitor their roulette wheels electronically to detect any statistical deviation from expected results.