A casino, also called a gambling house or a gaming establishment, is an establishment that offers a variety of games of chance to its patrons. In addition to various table games, casinos offer slot machines, keno and a range of other lottery-type games. Many casinos are combined with hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions.
The most popular casino games are slot machines, which earn casinos the largest proportion of their profits. A player simply puts in money and pulls a handle or pushes a button; a series of varying bands of colored shapes rolls on reels (physical or video) and, if the right pattern appears, the player wins a predetermined amount of money. No skill or strategy is involved in playing a slot machine, which is why it has the lowest house edge of any casino game.
Despite the glamour, casinos are not exactly charities that give away free money. Like any other business, they have to make a profit to survive, and they do that by having built in advantages in their games that ensure they will win a significant percentage of the money that is played there. The advantage is very small, usually no more than two percent, but it adds up over the millions of bets placed every year. These margins, known as the “house edge,” are what makes casinos profitable and able to afford elaborate fountains, giant pyramids and towers, luxurious hotel rooms, top-notch restaurants, spas and theaters.