A casino is an establishment for gambling. In some places, the term is also used for a place where people can bet on sports events or horse races. These establishments often have elaborate themes and include restaurants, hotels and other tourist attractions. Some casinos are also known for their live entertainment.
While lighted fountains, musical shows and shopping centers help draw in visitors, the billions of dollars that casinos make each year come from games of chance like poker, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno. These games have a built in mathematical edge for the house, which can be low (lower than two percent), but over time it adds up. It is that advantage that allows casinos to spend money on extravagant inducements for big bettors such as free spectacular entertainment, luxury hotel rooms and reduced-fare transportation.
In 2005, the average American casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old female from a household with above-average income. About half had a college degree or higher, and most had some form of professional employment. However, critics argue that local businesses lose revenue to the casinos and that the costs of treating problem gambling addicts and lost productivity from those who lose control of their gambling usually outweigh any economic benefits a casino might bring. In addition, some studies have shown that the presence of a casino actually decreases real estate values in the surrounding area.