What is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for gambling. Although casinos offer other entertainment such as musical shows, lighted fountains and lavish hotels, they are most known for their games of chance. Games of chance, such as slot machines, blackjack, poker, craps and keno, provide the billions of dollars in profits that casinos make every year. Casinos are often combined with restaurants, shopping centers and hotels. The term casino can also refer to a specific place where gambling is legal, such as Reno or Tunica.

The first modern casinos developed in the 16th century during a gambling craze that swept Europe. Though gaming probably existed in some form throughout recorded history (primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones have been found), the modern casino as we know it developed during this period when it became popular to bet on sports events, horse races, and, especially, card games.

While the popularity of gambling has waned somewhat since its heyday in the roaring 20s, casinos are still a big business with locations in many states and even abroad. The most famous are in Nevada and Atlantic City.

While some casinos are quite large and can accommodate thousands of gamblers, others are smaller and more intimate. Gamblers can usually choose from a variety of games and are generally not limited to the number of times they can play each game. While most games require little skill, some do involve the use of strategy. In general, the house has an advantage over players in most casino games, a fact that is reflected in the uniformly negative expected value of these games (also called the house edge). Casinos may offer complimentary items such as food or drinks to lure patrons into making larger wagers than they would otherwise make.