A casino is a place where people can gamble through games of chance or skill, and in some cases both. Most games have a built in statistical advantage for the house, which is called the house edge or vig. Casinos earn money by combining this house edge with the number of bets placed.

A significant percentage of casino revenue comes from high rollers who play for large sums. These players are usually given comps such as free hotel rooms, show tickets and food. In order to qualify for these perks a player must join the casinos loyalty club. Many casinos have clubs that are similar to airline frequent-flyer programs, where patrons swipe a card before each game played and the casinos track their spending habits and gaming preferences.

In 2005 a Harrah’s Entertainment study of face-to-face interviews with 2,000 adults found that the typical casino gambler was a forty-six year old female from a household with above-average income. High rollers often gamble in special rooms separate from the main floor and have personal staff that oversee their every need.

The most famous casinos are located in Las Vegas, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey. But even smaller towns such as Saratoga, New York have a casino. Critics argue that a casino brings little economic benefit to a town and instead siphons money away from other forms of local entertainment. Studies also indicate that compulsive gambling costs a community in terms of lost productivity and treatment for problem gamblers.