What Is a Casino?

A casino is a facility that offers chances for customers to gamble. The games may involve chance or skill, but almost all have a house advantage. This advantage can be calculated by comparing the odds to expected value (also known as the house edge).

A few states in the US have casinos. They also are common in Europe, especially on American Indian reservations, where state antigambling laws do not apply.

Casinos try to create a unique atmosphere that encourages gambling. They often use bright and gaudy floor and wall coverings to add excitement and make patrons feel rich. Red is a popular color to use because it has been shown to minimize awareness of passing time. There are usually no clocks on casino walls.

Some casinos employ advanced technology to help them monitor players and games. For instance, betting chips with built-in microcircuitry let casinos oversee amounts wagered minute by minute; roulette wheels are monitored electronically to detect any deviations from their expected results. In addition, video cameras and computers keep an eye on the dealers to avoid cheating.

During the 1950s, organized crime gangsters provided a steady flow of cash to casinos in Reno and Las Vegas. However, the mobsters wanted more than just money for their efforts. They took over sole or partial ownership of several casinos and influenced the outcomes of some games by intimidating casino personnel. In the 1960s, legitimate businessmen, such as real estate investors and hotel chains, realized they could profit from casinos without the mob’s involvement.