A casino is a place where people can play gambling games. Some casinos have a lot of luxurious extras to attract and keep gamblers, such as restaurants, free drinks, stage shows and dramatic scenery. But even a less extravagant place that just houses gambling activities could be called a casino.

Gambling in a casino involves games of chance or skill, and the house always has a built-in advantage over the players. This advantage is mathematically determined and called the house edge or expected value. Casinos also make money on the games by charging a commission, known as the rake. In games where players compete against each other, such as poker, the house also takes a percentage of each bet, which is referred to as the vigorish.

Because of the house edge and other mathematical expectations, it is very rare for a casino to lose money on a single game. However, casinos are businesses and need to maximize their profits. That is why they offer comps, or complimentary goods and services, to big bettors. These incentives might include free spectacular entertainment, reduced-fare transportation, luxury hotel rooms and even expensive dinners.

According to the research firm Roper Reports GfK NOP and TNS, American adults who gamble in casinos are primarily middle-aged women who live in households with above-average income. Their most common gambling activity is playing slots, followed by card and table games. The average casino gambler is a forty-six-year-old female with above-average income and more vacation time than most of her peers.