What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment, typically licensed by a sovereign government, in which patrons gamble by playing games of chance. These include a variety of card games, table games and video poker. Casinos also offer a host of other amenities, including restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. Many casinos are located in exotic locales, with top-notch hotels and spas, while others are located in more traditional settings.

There is one thing that all casino patrons should know: The house always wins. Despite the glitz, glamour and flashing lights, casino games are inherently designed to give the house an advantage. Even with a little bit of skill, the odds of winning a game are mathematically determined to be overwhelmingly in favor of the house. The advantage is called the “house edge.”

Casinos are able to guarantee their gross profit by creating favorable odds for most of their games. They do this through a combination of mathematically determined probabilities (i.e., the house edge) and a percentage of the money bettors lose, which is referred to as the vig or rake.

While other movies about Vegas and organized crime glamorize the city, Scorsese’s Casino is the most realistic. The movie lays bare the corruption that permeated the city in its prime, ranging from politicians and Teamsters unions to mob families from Chicago and the Midwest. The brutality and violence, such as the torture scene involving De Niro’s character and the murder of Joe Pesci, is disturbing but not gratuitous.