A casino is a place for gambling. Although some casinos have musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels to draw in visitors, the vast majority of their profits are derived from games of chance, such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno. These games give the casinos a built in statistical advantage that allows them to make billions of dollars annually.
This advantage, known as the house edge or vigorish, can be very small (less than two percent), but it adds up over millions of bets and the many games offered by the casinos. It is this revenue that enables them to finance the extravagant hotel rooms, restaurants, fountains and replicas of famous landmarks found at many of them.
Although a casino is a great source of entertainment and a major employer, critics say it takes money from other forms of local recreation, hurts property values in the surrounding area and contributes to compulsive gambling. Studies indicate that five percent of all casino patrons are addicted, and these gamblers generate 25 percent of the profits for casinos. Because of this, some economic studies show that the net impact of casinos on a community is negative. For example, they take business away from other forms of entertainment and hurt the wages of workers in adjacent industries. For these reasons, some communities have banned casinos altogether. However, others have legalized them, and they are continuing to grow in popularity across the country.