A casino is a gambling establishment that offers various types of games of chance and, in some cases, skill. In most games, the house has an advantage over the players, either through a mathematical formula (e.g., in roulette and craps) or through commissions (e.g., in poker, where a dealer deals the cards). Casinos also offer complimentary goods or services to their “good” customers, known as comps. These free items and services may include meals, show tickets, hotel rooms and even limo service or airline tickets.
While some casinos add luxuries like stage shows and dramatic scenery, they are fundamentally places where people can gamble and play games of chance. There have been less extravagant places that house gambling activities that are still called casinos, but the modern casino is a much more elaborate affair.
The most famous of these is perhaps the Bellagio in Las Vegas, which features a massive fountain show and luxurious accommodations. But there are many more, located all over the world.
One of the most fascinating stories about casinos is how they evolved away from being Mafia-run. In the 1990s, huge gambling corporations with deep pockets bought out the mob and started running their own casinos. The result was that mob members had to look for new ways to make money, and violence became more common. This is reflected in Scorsese’s movie Casino, which has some of the most shocking scenes in any film. However, the performances of De Niro and Sharon Stone keep the film a taut thriller all the way to the end.