A casino is a place where people can gamble on games of chance. While musical shows, lighted fountains and themed hotels may attract patrons, the billions in profits that casinos rake in each year are derived from gambling activities alone. Slot machines, blackjack, poker, roulette, craps and keno are just some of the games that can be found in today’s casinos.

In the past, many states had laws prohibiting gambling. However, in the 1980s and ’90s several states amended their laws to allow for casino gambling. Now, there are over 40 states that have some form of legal gambling.

The casino industry is one of the largest employers in Las Vegas and is growing rapidly. While the actual gambling takes place in the gaming areas, casinos also offer restaurants, retail shops, entertainment and convention space.

As with any business, casinos have to be profitable in order to survive. This means that the average gross profit from each game must match or exceed the cost of operating the casino. This number, known as the house edge, can be quite small – lower than two percent for some games – but over millions of bets the house will come out ahead. Because of this built-in advantage, it is very rare for a casino to lose money on any particular day. To help assure their profitability, casinos often reward big bettors with free spectacular entertainment, hotel rooms, meals, transportation and even airline tickets.