Casinos are public places where a variety of games of chance are available for gambling. They may add luxuries to help attract patrons such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows but gambling is the central activity that provides the billions of dollars in profits raked in by casinos each year.
Casinos offer their customers a wide range of games of chance that have mathematically determined odds, including blackjack, poker, roulette and craps. These games give the house an edge, sometimes lower than two percent, which earns the casino money. In addition, casinos often charge players a vig (vigorish) or rake, depending on the game.
Besides the games themselves, casinos are designed to encourage gambling by creating a mood of excitement, noise and light. They are decorated in bright and sometimes gaudy colors that stimulate the senses. They use a lot of red because it is believed that the color makes people lose track of time. Many casinos have no clocks at all. Alcoholic drinks are served freely and waiters rove the floor to take orders.
There is something about the thrill of gambling that seems to inspire people to cheat, steal and scam their way into a jackpot. That is why casinos spend so much time and money on security. Casinos also have a reputation for being dangerous places for unsupervised children. There are few laws that protect minors from the tumult of a casino floor, but there is an awareness among gamblers that it can be dangerous for children to wander unsupervised.