A Casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. The modern casino is much like an indoor amusement park for adults, with most of the entertainment (and profits for the owner) coming from games of chance. Slot machines, black jack, roulette, craps and keno are what bring in the billions of dollars that casinos rake in each year.
Although there is an element of skill in some casino games (such as blackjack and video poker), most are games of pure luck. As such, the house always has a built in advantage over players, which is mathematically determined and known as the house edge. The house edge can be as low as two percent, but over the millions of bets placed by customers each year, it adds up to enough to fund elaborate hotels, fountains and replicas of famous pyramids and towers.
In addition to making money from bets, casinos also make money by giving out free goods and services to high-spenders. These are called comps and can include hotel rooms, meals, show tickets and even airline tickets. The amount of time and money a player spends at the casino is used to determine their status, which is then used to award comps.
Gambling has been around for centuries, with records of betting and wagering dating back to ancient Mesopotamia. However, the modern casino is a relatively recent development. During the 1920s, wealthy businessmen like Donald Trump and Hilton hotels realized the potential for profit from gaming and began purchasing existing casinos. Mob involvement in casinos was widespread at the beginning, but federal crackdowns and the possibility of losing a gaming license at any hint of mob activity have kept most gangsters out of the casino business.